Israeli Experts In Kashmir To Assess Security Needs
22 September 2000
The Times of India
New Delhi: An Israeli team of counter-terrorism experts is currently touring Jammu and Kashmir and other insurgency-infested parts of the country. They have been invited by Home Minister L K Advani to assess the security needs, government sources said on Friday. The Israeli team is led by Eli Katzir of the Counter-Terrorism Combat Unit of the Israeli Prime Minister''s Office, and comprises senior Israeli police commander and Israeli military intelligence officials. Though the home ministry is tight-lipped on this it is expected that the experts from Israel will prepare a ''feasibility study'' of Indian security needs and assess the areas in which Israel can offer assistance to New Delhi in tackling the activities of insurgent and terrorist groups, it was learnt. India had expressed its interest in seeking assistance from Israel for managing borders and reducing the incidence of terrorist incursions into Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistan. It may be recalled that during his visit to Israel, home minister Advani had requested the Israeli authorities to send counter-terrorist experts to India. He had advocated for a closer Indo-Israel cooperation on all security matters. During his visit to Israel in June this year, Advani was accompanied by a high-level team comprising home secretary Kamal Pande, Border Security Force (BSF) director-general E.N. Rammohan, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director R.K. Raghavan and Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief Shyamal Dutta. The Israelis had told Advani, their assistance to India would be specifically limited to ''information transfers, instruction in operational methods and the sale of equipment.'' The help would ''not include manpower training or the dispatch of Israeli experts to India.'' Since India and Israel established diplomatic ties in 1992, New Delhi has become Israel''s third largest market, after China and Turkey, for the sale of arms and military hardware. India is currently discussing the purchase of advance radar equipment fitted to the ''Arrow'' anti-ballistic missile system designed and developed by Israel and two planes equipped with the ''Phalcon'' airborne early warning system.