Pakistan to retaliate against Indo-Israel radar deal "soon"
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamabad, March 6, IRNA -- Pakistan said Friday it will shortly retaliate against India`s deal to purchase three Falcon airborne early warning radar systems from the Zionist regime, saying this would disturb the strategic balance in South Asia. "The sales of sophisticated weapons to India will disturb the strategic and conventional imbalance in South Asia, and we will naturally take steps to make up for the deal soon," Major General Shaukat Sultan, director-general of Inter-Services Public Relations told IRNA on phone. "We will neutralize the move through every resources at our disposal," he maintained. India and Israel signed the US$1.1 billion deal on Friday, which had been lined up since Zionist Prime Minister Ariel Sharon`s visit to India in September last year. The development takes place three months before the much-awaited India and Pakistan talks to settle their bilteral disputes, including the Kashmir issue. Such transactions, the spokesman added, undermine the spirit of peace and stability being pushed by Pakistan and India and the international community. "It is not in the interests of the region." Sulatan`s comments came amid Pak-India moves to initiate a composite dialogue to settle their bilateral disputes through peaceful means. On Sunday, the Israeli cabinet okayed the deal for the Falcon, a rival to the US-made airborne warning and control system (AWACS). The Falcon consists of avionics from the state-owned Israel Aircraft Industries to be fitted onto Russian-made Ilyushin aircraft. Last year, US officials pressed Israel to postpone the Falcon sale citing increased tensions between Pakistan and India, but later withdrew their objections. Tel Aviv and New Delhi have grown closer in recent years and Israel has become an important arms supplier to India. New Delhi wants to strengthen its defenses by acquiring airborne warning and control systems, which can detect aerial threats and also serve as a platform to direct combat planes to targets. Tel Aviv in recent years has emerged as one of the largest weapons exporters in the world. Israeli military sales reached US$4 billion in 2002 before falling to 2.8 billion in 2003. Last year, Pakistan`s Air Chief Marshal Kalim Saadat vowed to neutralize the deal by acquiring latest equipment. MHA/TSH/LS/210 End
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