Can't compromise India's security, says Israel; denies arm sales to Pakistan

Jerusalem, June 13 (IANS) Israel has denied having sold military equipment to Pakistan and said it could do nothing to compromise its excellent, strategic relations with India.

"The State of Israel categorically denies having sold military equipment of any kind to Pakistan," Israel's defence ministry said in a statement released to the media.

"Israel would not do anything that could undermine India's security."

The ministry said Israel has a strategic relationship with India, the strongest democracy in the world - which, like Israel, "deals with terrorist threats and serves as a major anchor in global international relations".

"The State of Israel does nothing that could compromise its excellent relations with India," it said.

The ministry issued the statement following a report in the Haaretz newspaper Tuesday which cited official reports from Britain indicating that Israel had sold defence equipment to Pakistan and other countries such as Morocco.

In the statement, the ministry officials said that within the next few days, Israel would ask the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which is responsible for issuing export permits in Britain, "for details of the information that was published in the official reports", Israeli media reported Wednesday.

Defence cooperation has been critical to the expansion of ties between India and Israel since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in 1992. Israel has become India's second largest arms supplier after Russia.

While arms sales constitute the largest chunk of Indo-Israeli defence cooperation, other forms of collaboration have taken place. Both countries recognise that terror is a threat, particularly after the 2008 Mumbai attack, and Israel has offered to cooperate in fighting terrorism, including intelligence-sharing, counter-terrorist training, and joint exercises.

Both countries have also exchanged military visits in an effort to expand military-to-military ties. Israel has supplied India with radar systems for airborne early warning and missile defence.

Also, Israel and India have expanded their cooperation into outer space, with India launching two Israeli surveillance satellites. There are reports that the two nations are considering co-development of earth-observation satellites -- an area where Israel has considerable expertise.

There are no diplomatic relations between Israel and Pakistan. Pakistan has also denied that its military had purchased equipment from Israel.

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