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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘India’

Israel Embassy in Nepal Arrests Suspected Iranian Spy

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

The Israeli Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal recently arrested an Iranian national and turned him over to local authorities on suspicion of spying. He had hidden his Iranian passport and possessed a fake Israeli passport, according the Himalayan Times reported Monday,

The suspect was identified as Mohsin Khosravian, who was arrested Saturday a week ago.

Officials at the Embassy said he “carried a tourist map of the Lazimpat area,” where the Israeli mission is located, an indication he might have been preparing to attack Israeli tourists.

Khosravian made “frequent and suspicious visits” to the Israeli Embassy area, but he told police after his arrest that he had left his hotel room to look for a place to repair his laptop.

He also claimed he traveled to Nepal on his way to Europe to seek asylum because he faces losses in his garment business.

Officials caught up with him when his wife, who is from Thailand, and two of his relatives from Iran arrived in Kathmandu from Bangkok to meet with him.

The Nepalese newspaper reported that the suspected spy entered Malaysia on his Iranian passport last month and then obtained a fake Israeli passport, under the name “Alexander,” in Kuala Lumpur. He allegedly used it receive an “on arrival” visa when he landed at the Nepalese airport on April 3.

The Nepal Police’s Central Bureau of Investigation and Special Bureau have launched investigation into his activities and possible terrorist links.

Last year, Turkish police said they busted an Iranian spy ring, and Indian police deported an Iranian national who was caught spying on a Chabad House, a synagogue and other places where Jews gather.

What a Cup of Soup Means

Monday, February 11th, 2013

For most people, we live our lives within circles. We travel from our homes to our work, an occasional night out and perhaps, if we are lucky, once or twice a year, we break out of the circle and fly off or drive off somewhere exciting for a few weeks. And then we return to our circles and remember the last vacation or dream of the next.

A few among us break this pattern and spend part of their lives flying very often as part of their jobs. As I organized this year’s MEGAComm (www.megacomm.org), I met two of these men. One came from India, one came from Canada. In addition to an amazing day of sessions and all, I had a chance to take each around a bit.

It is quite an experience to see your country, your world, through another’s eyes. On the first day, I took our guest from New Delhi around the walls of the Old City, parked on Mt. Zion, and walked with him through the Jewish Quarter and a bit of the Arab shuk (open market/bazaar). On the way down to the Kotel, the Western Wall, a woman stopped us.

She had a cup of hot liquid (soup, I guess) in her hand. I thought she was asking for money, as often happens there. Usually, I give a few coins, here and there. But this time, I realized that I had left the car with only my keys and cellular phone. I began to apologize when she said she didn’t want money.

She then handed me the soup and said, “could you give this to Shoshana?”

Almost as a reflex, I took the hot soup but looked at her in confusion, “who is Shoshana?”

“She’s sitting at the bottom on the steps, on the way to the Kotel,” she answered.

Now, I’ve never met Shoshana and it all seemed a bit strange. On the other hand, why not? So, I took the soup and set off with my guest, explaining about various sites in the Old City while carrying a warm cup of soup.

After a few minutes of walking, I came to the top of the many steps that lead down to the plaza where the Kotel stands. I’ve never counted the steps…but there are dozens of them – at a guess, I would say at least 50-60. I had planned to go about half way down where the view is incredible. Apparently, God and Shoshana’s friend had other plans. So, I gave my quick explanation, aware the soup would get cold.

Then I glanced down the steps – and found not one woman, but two, sitting on the side in chairs hoping people would give them money. Which was Shoshana?

I approached the first, “Are you Shoshana?” I asked her and she said she was not.

I approached the second, already sure this was the intended recipient. She already was looking at the soup, “Shoshana?” I asked and she confirmed that she was, gratefully took the soup, and thanked me – even gave me a blessing.

I think my guest from India was wondering in what kind of society does a stranger hand you a cup of soup? In what world do you then go searching to deliver it?

We walked down to the Kotel plaza; I explained about how this was retaining wall for our ancient Temples. I pointed to the levels of stone and explained about how the land on the other side is so much higher that a century or two ago, Arabs would throw garbage down on the Jewish worshipers and so a generous man from Europe donated funds to add the smaller stones and raise the level of the Wall.

I explained about how we turn to this Wall, the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, three times a day in our prayers and finally we began to climb back up those 60 or so stairs. Around 30 stairs up, a man stopped us, took my guest’s hand and as he began blessing him in rapid fire Hebrew (not a word of which could my friend understand), the man tied a red string around his wrist. Then he turned to me, carefully tying a string around my wrist as well.

An Only in Israel Story from India

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

We’re hosting the 7th Annual MEGAComm conference this week (www.megacomm.org) and it’s shaping up to be an amazing event. A little over a week ago, we got word that we’d have an honored guest from India, sent by Adobe. This is an incredible recognition of the value Adobe places on our community.

I’ve been working hard to finalize so many details – the conference bag, the magazine (with help from an amazing editor and designer, proofreaders, writers who have offered articles, etc.), fliers that need to be printed, and so much more. And, in the midst of all of this, I wanted to pick up our guest at the airport to ensure his entry to the country was smooth and more, to begin a dialog that has taken place for many months, even years, over email and telephone alone.

Elie knew that I was tired and so offered to drive, leaving me free to go into the terminal to welcome our guest. As we drove back to Jerusalem, I began pointing out some of the sights – how the land is relatively flat but soon we’d be climbing up to Jerusalem (and explained how we mean this in both a physical and spiritual sense). Of the battle of 1948, and the military vehicles that remain, to this day, to a monument to those who died in the war of our independence. Of the open areas that stretch out between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and the cities and towns along the way. Of the train passing, the lake that isn’t really there – except now because of the massive amounts of rain we’ve had recently.

And finally, we pointed to the tank museum to the right. Latrun. Our guest seemed interested and so we took a small detour to drive up and show him a few tanks that are part of the museum. A large part of Elie’s life remains the army and this became part of the discussion on Israel and life here as we drove.

And then our guest shared a story that has had me smiling since. He has family members in the Indian army and some have served in Kashmir an area known for the strife that plagues it. Apparently, there was an attack and hostages were taken – among them, four Israelis. The Indian army prepared to move in and when they got there, they found that the Israelis were so annoyed at having been kidnapped, they overpowered their kidnappers, tied them up and handed them over to the army.

I explained how so many Israelis after the army take off for foreign lands for a few months to see a world beyond our small borders. They leave behind family, friends and country – and take with them so much of who they have become. No, Israelis wouldn’t sit around and wait to be rescued if the opportunity arises.

I told this story to my son-in-law, who just finished the army, and to a soldier we needed a lift into Jerusalem this morning. When I got to the end of the story, about the Israelis rescuing themselves, they both laughed and smiled.

Even from India, there are “only in Israel” stories!

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Chief of India’s Air Force in Israel for Talks

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Indian Chief of Air Staff Norman Anil Kumar Browne is in Israel for talks with the highest ranking Israeli military officials as ties deepen between the two countries’ defense establishments.

The Times of India reported that India and Israel are seeking new ways to cooperate militarily.  The visit began Sunday with a military ceremony at the Kirya in Tel Aviv and with meetings between Browne and Israel Air Force chief Amir Eshel.

Browne is also expected to meet with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.

India and Israel are currently working together to upgrade all of India’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).  India is the world’s largest consumer of Israeli defense products.

Browne was India’s first defense attaché to Israel.

Missiles, Missiles Everywhere

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Back in 2007, when Vladimir Putin promised to rebuild Russia’s military and resume its activities on the world stage, Westerners were complacent.  Russia was an economic basket case, after all.  It would take years for modernization programs to kick in.  And even when they did, they would bring Russian capabilities to no more than what America already has.  Right?

That may be the case for some conventional forces.  But when it comes to “strategic” missiles – missiles used for the purpose of strategic intimidation – it’s 2012 now, and Russia is unquestionably ahead of the United States.  Not in terms of numbers, but in terms of missile capabilities.  The Russians have already fielded ICBMs that are better than anything we have.  These missiles present a much tougher target for our national ballistic-missile defense network than anything has before.  If they are launched against us – and certainly if they’re launched against anyone else – a lot of them are going to get through.

The missile tests popping up all over Asia should be seen in this light.  Everyone’s arming up, starting with Russia.  As we speak, Moscow is rearming missile units with Russia’s most advanced ICBM, the Yars missile, which was first tested in 2007.  The Topol-M missile, tested in 2004, is already deployed.

The US, by contrast, has not developed or tested a new long-range missile system since the Reagan administration.  The US Air Force conducted test launches of the Minuteman III ICBM in February and early March 2012 (the last test launch, in 2011, resulted in the missile being destroyed by the controllers in flight, due to a malfunction, rather than being allowed to proceed to splash-down).  The Minuteman III entered service in 1970.  The MX Peacekeeper ICBM was decommissioned in 2005.  The Navy’s Trident II D-5 ballistic missile, which entered service in 1990, was tested in March 2012.

The Russians plan to complete the modernization of five strategic rocket force units by the end of 2013.  Shortly before the US election, Russia held a big strategic exercise in which long-range missiles were launched from sea and shore.  Russia isn’t resting on her ICBM laurels either; besides putting the new Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) into service, she is developing a new ICBM with a huge, Cold War-style nuclear-payload capacity on a much improved missile body.

But in a very missile-choked continent, Russia is just the biggest kid on the block.  China has her own robust ICBM programs.  On 24 July, 2012, China conducted the first test of her newest ICBM, the DF-41, which can hit all of the United States.  The Chinese have also tested the DF-31A ICBM throughout 2012.  The DF-31A can hit much of (not all of) the United States.  The most recent test was on 30 November, which also happened to be the last day of a joint US-Chinese disaster-relief exercise in Chengdu.

India, with China and Pakistan to worry about, continues her own ballistic missile testing.  In April 2012, India tested the Agni-V, her most advanced ballistic missile, which, with a 3100 (statue) mile range, can reach most of China and all of Pakistan.

India also tested an interceptor missile in November 2012, claiming a successful intercept, although the type of target missile was not reported.

On 28 November, five days after India’s interceptor test and two days before China’s DF-31 test, Pakistan test-launched a Hatf-V medium-range ballistic missile, the newest in Islamabad’s family of nuclear-capable MRBMs.

And, of course, Iran is working hard on improving her MRBM inventory (and testing it to create alarm in the region).

So when you see that North Korea is preparing to launch a ballistic missile, keep in mind the character of the neighborhood.  Because of the danger presented by North Korea, the US and South Korea agreed in early October 2012 that Seoul would double the range of South Korea’s own ballistic missiles from the Hyunmoo series.  This is the kind of thing that would have gotten a lot more coverage if there were a different president in the Oval Office.

Japan is also concerned, of course.  Tokyo is deploying Patriot missile batteries and putting the armed forces on alert in preparation for Pyongyang’s launch.  It may not be long before Japan decides she wants her own ballistic missiles.  Having been capable of putting satellites in orbit for 40 years, the Japanese could develop and deploy ballistic missiles on a very short timeline.

Israel to Sign Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with India

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

India will likely be signing a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with Israel in order to create smoother and easier cooperation between the countries in the investigation of crimes.

According to a report in the India Times, India will also sign the agreement with Oman, Azerbaijan and Nepal in a bid to cooperate on the prevention, investigation and prosecution of crime, the exchange and service of judicial and legal documents, the execution of warrants, forfeiture and confiscation.

India May Scrap US Military Deal in Favor of Israeli One

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

India’s army may opt to conduct a $1 billion military defense contract with Israel rather than the United States, showcasing the increasingly strong competition between the two countries in providing defensive solutions throughout the world.

According to an article in the India Times, the Indian Army initially planned to purchase American FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), but may instead purchase Israeli ‘Spike’ ATGMs because of a US hesitance to provide “transfer of technology” license (ToT) to India which would enable the country to produce its own anti-tank weapons after the initial purchase.

“The Javelin imbroglio has once again rekindled long-held fears in the Indian defence establishment about the US not being a reliable long-term supplier of cutting-edge military technology. India also detests American conditions on “intrusive end-user inspections” of weapons sold to its armed forces,” the article said.

The defense contract includes the provision of 2,000 launchers and 24,000 missiles.

The report notes that Israel is India’s second largest defense provider after Russia and said this sale would constitute the third major missile program between India and Israel.  Deals between the two countries for military technology are worth approximately $1 billion a year.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/india-may-scrap-us-military-deal-in-favor-of-israeli-one/2012/11/29/

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