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India-Israel Defense Relations Threatened by Scandal

Monday, April 13, 2009

NEW DELHI, India -- One of India's biggest ever defense deals with Israel, worth $2 billion, hovered on the brink of collapse earlier this month after allegations of graft to the tune of $120 million surfaced. Indian Defense Minister A. K. Anthony was quick to deny the claims, while asserting that the government would take strict action against the Israeli company and the Indian middlemen involved should the charges be true. This was, however, the second blow to Indo-Israeli relations in a matter of days -- the first being a controversial video produced by Israeli defense firm Rafael and shown at a recent arms expo that lampooned India's Bollywood movie industry.

The bad news came at a time when ties between the two countries could not have been stronger. In March, Israel officially overtook Russia to acquire the enviable position of India's largest arms supplier. Now the deal involving the sale of surface-to-air missiles by Israel Aerospace Industries to the Indian government seems to have been jeopardized. ...

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