India-Israel partnership to balance global defense supply chain

Israel is a leader in hi-tech, an innovator in cyber warfare, defense technology and electronics. Indian professionalism is unmatched in the world.

By
August 30, 2017 20:49
Visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Ben-G

Visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Ben-Gurion airport before his departure after an historic three day visit to Israel. (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

 
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During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Israel visit, he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu noted the importance of realizing the full potential of the India-Israel partnership and they asked their respective staffs to draw up concrete plans to implement their vision for cooperation in a range of areas by the first week of January.

Both countries have endorsed the vision to work cooperatively not only for their mutual benefit, but for the good of the other parts of the world, too. As Netanyahu said, “We are talking about also cooperation in Third World countries by joining forces in various areas.”

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In a recent interview with Business World magazine, Israel Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon said, “Sit back, relax and enjoy the growing relationship.” However, for Indian and Israeli executives and policy makers, this is a time not to relax but to act more! The current pace of development needs a strong push. Many have worked hard for many years to see this phase of India-Israel relations arrive. The leaders of both sides have set the right environment; there is a need to leverage the present opportunities to move this partnership forward.

Following Modi’s visit, a number of initiatives have been undertaken to strengthen the people-to-people ties – promoting tourism and cultural engagement between the people of India and Israel by means of performances from Israeli musicians/dancers in India, artists, choreographers, filmmakers and other cultural endeavors.

We must understand that people-to-people ties between India and Israel are already in a good state. Admiration and acceptance between peoples accelerated with PM Modi’s visit. We needn’t invest too much energy/effort to achieve objectives and things that are already in good shape. This superfluous approach will tend to mire this partnership in stagnation. We have a lot of bright minds. What we should be doing at this time is to channel our combined energy and resources in the right direction.

The India-Israel partnership has the potential to balance the global defense supply chain, which has suffered heavily due to military counterfeiting and the hardware backdooring practices of China. China’s manufacturing dominance, combined with its hegemonic aspirations, can pose a great threat to the security architecture of responsible democracies of the world.

A number of US government reports underscore this view. For instance, in a 2012 report titled “Inquiry into Counterfeit Electronic Parts in the Department of Defense Supply Chain” by the Committee on Armed Services, the Department of Defense points out a “flood of counterfeiting” in the United States Defense supply chain. This investigation uncovered some 1,800 cases of suspected counterfeiting of electronic items. The total number of suspected parts involved in those cases exceeds a million. The report identifies China as the dominant source country for the counterfeit electronic parts that are infiltrating the defense supply chain and the Chinese government has failed to take steps to stop counterfeiting operations.

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China has developed a habit of pilfering weapons technology, too. They have successfully stolen a large amount of sensitive information, including military weapon blueprints from major US and Israeli OEMs. Intellectual property theft is another key aspect of China’s industrial policies/practices.

In the US, a number of Chinese nationals have been charged and sentenced to prison in recent years for spying for the Chinese regime and for stealing the crucial data of dozens of defense programs. The US government has launched a probe into China’s intellectual property practices, which the US government estimates cost the USA economy between $150 billion to $240 billion annually. The 2016 annual report of US-China Economic and Security Review Commission notes that Chinese agents have extracted data in the recent years on some of the most advanced weapons and weapons systems in the US arsenal, such as jet fighters and unmanned submersible vehicles.

Apart from counterfeiting and pilfering weapon technologies, China is massively involved in hardware backdooring practices. According to some Pentagon analysts, the Chinese government reportedly has pervasive access to some 80% of the world’s communications through the backdoors it has ordered to be installed in the devices made by Huawei and ZTE. China’s major electronic and telecom companies such as Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo have long attracted the suspicion of the international intelligence agencies due to their alleged links with the Chinese Public Liberation Army (PLA). In September 2016, Pentagon’s Directorate for Intelligence raised concerns about Lenovo computers and handheld devices. A report produced by the J-2 intelligence directorate states that Lenovo computer and hand-held devices could introduce hardware backdoors into the supply chain.

As per the recent US Government Report on worldwide threat assessment, China actively targets the US government, its companies and allies for cyber espionage. India, the US and Israel are the countries most vulnerable to cyber attacks, but at the same time, these three countries bear the responsibility to balance the infiltration of China in the global defense supply chain.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s new Strategic Support Force has integrated information warfare, electronic warfare and cyber warfare capabilities. Earlier, the PLA pursued the same set of goals through a shadowy unit known as Unit 61398. China is building the capabilities to lead in this new frontier of war called Cyberspace. This aggressive shift in China’s approach from a unit to a strategic support force is a matter of concern to the world community.

The current situation demands a strong alliance to prevent the harboring of such threats. During his visit to Israel, Modi said, “We have agreed to do much more together to protect our strategic interests and fight against growing radicalization and terrorism, including in cyberspace.”

Israel is a leader in hi-tech, an innovator in cyber warfare, defense technology and electronics. Indian professionalism is unmatched in the world. The combined forces of Indian talent and Israeli technologies can increase genuineness and quality in the global defense supply chain, which is in the interest of the whole world.

The writer promotes advanced technologies, the startup ecosystem and government business and technology related initiatives like Digital India, Make in India and Startup India through his portals, articles, videos and books.

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