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As the West Sells the Arms............
by Saima Alvi
25 May 2002 19:41 UTC
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"The Kashmir crisis is now potentially more dangerous than that in the 
Middle East. Yet the [British] government has imposed a de facto arms 
embargo on Israel while continuing to promote arms sales to India." 

Posted from THE GUARDIAN of May 24, 2002

http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Story/0,2763,721185,00.html


Britain seeks to sell arms despite crisis 
=========================================

Richard Norton-Taylor


Britain is still trying to profit from the Indian arms market, despite a 
growing threat of war with Pakistan and the government's official 
guidelines on weapons exports. 
Ministers have been pushing the sale of 60 Hawk jets worth 1bn. Earlier 
this year British companies, with official blessing, offered howitzers, 
anti-aircraft guns, missiles and tanks at a major arms fair in New Delhi. 

Whitehall said yesterday that Britain's policy on arms sales to India or 
Pakistan had not changed, though ministers are warning of the increasing 
likelihood of a military conflict between the two nuclear powers over 
Kashmir. 

Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, has warned that the Kashmir crisis is 
now potentially more dangerous than that in the Middle East. Yet the 
government has imposed a de facto arms embargo on Israel while continuing 
to promote arms sales to India. 

Guidelines announced in 1997 after Labour came to power state that the 
government "will not issue an export licence if there is a clearly 
identifiable risk that the intended recipient would use the proposed export 
aggressively against another country". 

They state that the government will also take into account the likelihood 
of armed conflict between the recipient and another country, and the threat 
to "regional stability". 

The prime minister, Tony Blair, warned India and Pakistan this week that 
military action "could plunge not just their countries into conflict, but 
the wider region, with implications for the whole world". 

The Hawk, produced by BAE Systems, can be used as a ground attack aircraft 
and would be used to train Indian pilots to fly fast jets, including Jaguar 
bombers. The Jaguar bombers, produced under licence are capable of being 
adapted to carry nuclear weapons, the Ministry of Defence admits. 

BAE Systems has sold Jaguar combat aircraft to India, but the MoD refuses 
to disclose details of the deals. According to the Stockholm International 
Peace Research Institute, the deal was for 126 Jaguar aircraft. 

India is believed to be trying to upgrade their performance with Israeli 
help. 

Paul Eavis, director of the independent campaigning group Saferworld, 
said: "It is alarming that, under licence from a UK company, India is 
building Jaguar aircraft that are capable of delivering nuclear weapons." 

The government in 2000 granted nearly 700 export licences for a wide range 
of military equipment to India - a market traditionally dominated by 
Russia - in deals worth more than 64m. This was a big increase on the 
previous year, according to the latest official figures. 

Britain has sold fewer arms to Pakistan; export licences worth 6m were 
approved in 2000. 

The Foreign Office said yesterday that arms sales were 
considered "carefully" and were "under constant review". 



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