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Indian Jews Join Israeli Defence Forces; Further Strengthens India-Israel Ties

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In 2014, a group of twelve members of India’s Bnei Menashe Jewish community had immigrated to Israel and have recently enlisted in the Kfir Brigade of the Israel Defense Forces.

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One of these new recruits, Baruch Chayim Gangte says “as a Jew, I felt a strong need to make aliyah (immigration to Israel) to Israel and fulfil my role in protecting my homeland as part of the Israel Defense Forces.”

The immigration of this group of 12 from India to Israel was undertaken by the Shavei Israel group, led by Michael Freund, who aims to provide assistance to Bnei Menashe Jews immigrate to Israel.

“Thus far, Shavei Israel has been blessed to bring more than 4,000 Bnei Menashe immigrants from India, and I truly hope that in the near future the new Israeli government will allow us to bring the rest of the community on aliyah, as well,” tells Freund.

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The formation of the modern state of Israel in 1948, roughly coincides with India’s freedom from the British rule in 1947 and since then a majority of Indian Jews living in regions like Kerala, Maharasthra, Kolkata and other places have migrated to Israel.

It is noted that between 1948 and 1952, about 2300 Indian Jews had made their way to their historic homeland of Israel. Now, after more than half a century, Israel has become a home to more than 80,000 Indian-origin Jews with ties stronger than simply religion.

“The 80,000+ strong Indian Jewish community here form a vital and important link between India and Israel. Both nations have excellent relations with over 25 years of full diplomatic relations. Relations have seen rapid growth across a broad spectrum of areas and the future vision of cooperation is of a strong hi-tech partnership as befits two knowledge economies,” said the Counsellor at the Indian embassy in Tel Aviv, Muanpuii Saiawi in 2019 at a book launch.

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India’s full-fledged diplomatic relation with Israel began in 1992. The Jewish Virtual Library mentions that “both countries see themselves as isolated democracies threatened by neighbours (Pakistan for India and Syria for Israel) that train, finance and encourage terrorism, therefore both countries also view their cooperative relationship as a strategic imperative.”

Since then, the strong and stable ties between India and Israel in the defence sector have not gone unnoticed. Further, Samuel C. Rajiv, an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses emphasizes that “the cooperation between the two countries in the defence sector is expected to further blossom.

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During 2002–07, India bought $5 bn worth of defence equipment from Israel, whose investments in India have grown to $3 bn. Total defence trade between the two countries is worth more than $ 9 bn. Moreover, there is a further possibility of high-tech cooperation such as in space technology and agriculture.”

He continues that the “bilateral relations between India and Israel hinge on three pegs – economic, defence and people to people contacts. India is Israel’s 10th largest trading partner. After the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1992, civilian bilateral trade has grown to about $5 billion per year.

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With the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in the pipeline, this is expected to more than double in the near future.”

However, citizens of Israel like Ofra Albo, from Tel Aviv who has formerly served as a military personnel and regularly likes to travel to India tells EurAsian Times that “India and Indians hold a unique place in my heart, not only when I am in India but also when I am back here in Tel Aviv. It is just not the strong political ties but more of a humanly value to it.”

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South Asia

India-China Tensions: India launches solar power plant to stop China imports

China is a major exporting nation of solar equipment to India. However, border clashes last month which resulted in the killing of 20 Indian troops have triggered a trade war between the two Asian giants.

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As tensions between India and China grow, Indian PM Narendra Modi on Friday launched a solar power plant with the aim to stop reliance on imports from neighbours – China and Pakistan

The 750-megawatt power plant in the central state of Madhya Pradesh is being dubbed as the largest in Asia by local media. The project is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 million tons each year.

“Several steps are being taken to increase domestic manufacturing and it has been decided that government’s departments and institutions will only buy domestically manufactured solar cells and modules,” said Modi, in the wake of recent border tensions with China.

China is a major exporting nation of solar equipment to India. However, border clashes last month which resulted in the killing of 20 Indian troops have triggered a trade war between the two Asian giants.

In the virtual launch of the Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Power Project, Modi highlighted that India’s progress in the field of solar energy will garner international interest.

“Hopefully very soon India will be a major exporter of power. The International Solar Alliance was launched with the motive to unite the entire world in terms of solar energy.” The project is a step toward India’s ambitious target of installing 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by the year 2022.

Cheena Kapoor

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Asia Pacific

Indian Rafale Jets Would Have Been Useless Against Chinese Airforce – Russia Experts

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Rafale jets would have been useless against the Chinese Airforce (PLAAF) – Russian aviation experts have claimed. Rafale fighter jets belong to the 4 ++ generation would not have been of much use had an aerial conflict broken out in Ladakh again the PLAAF.

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As reported by EurAsian Times, India and China had been engaged in a brutal conflict in the Himalayan region of Ladakh. Troops of both countries have exchanged blows and even lost soldiers in the conflict that began more than a month ago.

Keeping in mind the situation in Ladakh, France said that it would accelerate the delivery of Rafale fighter jets to India. Aviation experts believe that the arrival of Rafale fighter jets will significantly boost the combat capability of the Indian Air Force (IAF). However, according to Russian experts, who did not wish to be named, the French fighter would not help India much incase the conflict turns hot.

The astronomical cost of Rafale fighter jets is one of the reasons the French 4++ fighter jet would not help India. In the deal struck with Paris, New Delhi agreed to purchase 36 Rafale Jets. The total cost of the deal was an estimated Rs 59,000 crore with each jet costing around Rs 1,646 crore.

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The cost of a Rafale is about three times higher than the Chinese J-20 stealth fighter jets. In other words, for 36 French-made Rafale fighters that will appear in the Indian Air Force, China can respond with three times as many of its fifth-generation J-20 fighters – for the same money.

Even if, in some ways, the characteristics of the Chinese combat aircraft lag behind the French 4 ++ fighter jet, then the Indian air force could get overwhelmed by what is called “capable of crushing by quantity”.

And the cost is not the only reason why Rafale jets would not help India much. Compared to another Chinese jet – J-16 (an analogue of the Russian Su-35) which Beijing is also using in its airforce, the Rafale jets will find it extremely challenging to outgun the Russian Su-35s operated by the Chinese.

The maximum speed of the Rafale jet is about Mach 1.8 and the J-16 is Mach 2.2. The Rafale’s practical ceiling is also lower than the J-16s. Even in engine thrust, the Chinese J-16s aka Russian Su-35s are far superior to the French combat aircraft.

Even if the IAF was to deploy all 36 of its newly acquired jets, the technical superiority would still be on the side of China, claims the Russian expert.

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The IAF has been on high alert in Ladakh and is closely monitoring all Chinese activity near the Line of Control.  As reported by EurAsian Times, New Delhi has inked a deal with Moscow to buy 33 new fighter aircraft including 12 Su-30MKIs and 21 MiG-29s along with up-gradation of 59 MiG-29s. The addition and up-gradation of jets have been approved to strengthen India’s air power.

The air defence systems of both the Indian Army and the IAF have been deployed in Ladakh to prevent any misadventure by the Chinese Air Force fighter jets or the People’s Liberation Army choppers there.

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EurAsian Region

Russian Technicians Keeping INS Vikramaditya Battle Ready Amid Flaring Regional Tensions

INS Vikramaditya has a total of 22 decks and it has the ability to carry over 30 aircraft including MiG 29K/Sea Harrier, Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King, ALH-Dhruv and Chetak helicopters.

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Russian technicians continue to provide maintenance to Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, despite the all the regional tensions and COVID-18 pandemic, Russian news agency TASS quoted a leading defence portal. 

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A group of Russian technicians who are supporting the Indian navy in providing timely maintenance for the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya have not left the country.

Despite the delays with the carrier’s acceptance for service, INS Vikramaditya offers ample opportunities for India’s Navy and allows New Delhi to keep its domination in the Indian Ocean, the news portal said in its article.

INS Vikramaditya is a heavy upgrade of the Russian aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Gorshkov. The work on the ship’s heavy upgrade was carried out at the Sevmash Shipyard and the flattop was handed-over the Indian Navy on November 16, 2013.

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Under an inter-governmental agreement signed in 2004, India received the Admiral Gorshkov’s hull for free but on condition of its upgrade at the Sevmash Shipyard and its outfitting with Russian-made aircraft.

After its upgrade, INS Vikramaditya displaces 45,000 tonnes and possess a state-of-art flight deck and a ski-jump for aircraft take-offs, navigation and radar systems, communications and aircraft control technology and also other special equipment and assemblies.

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INS Vikramaditya has a total of 22 decks and it has the ability to carry over 30 aircraft including MiG 29K/Sea Harrier, Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King, ALH-Dhruv and Chetak helicopters.

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