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Israel worried over US defence sales to India: Report

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Phalcon airborne early-warning system

JERUSALEM (PTI): Israel is concerned over losing its largest defence market to close ally US, which has reached an understanding with India that could result in billions of dollars of American defence sales to New Delhi, a media report has said.

"(US President Barack) Obama is embracing the Indian Prime Minister and 40 to 50 billion USDs worth of deals are being wrapped up in one shot," Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) President Itzhak Nissan told Middle East Newsline adding, "We don't have such personalities."

Israeli officials said the Defence Ministry and major companies have been closely monitoring the US marketing drive in India.

IAI and other major Israeli defence companies have been urging the Defense Ministry to ease export controls arguing that the new controls, demanded by the United States in 2005, were hampering marketing and technology transfer required to maintain exports.

"Free competition is the key to success," Nissan told an aerospace conference on this week adding, "Regulations must be employed for special cases and not to hamper initiative."

The IAI President and other defence chiefs said that the United States and European Union would intensify marketing in third countries amid the reduction of defence budgets at home.

In order to survive amid intense competition they argued that there is a need for proper coordination between Israeli companies as well as a rapid licensing process.

"The main problem is coping with the giants," Nissan said noting, "They are becoming very hungry."

Barack during his trip to India earlier this month has reached an understanding that could boost US defence sales to New Delhi, the report said.

India is Israel's largest defence market accounting for almost fifty percent of Israeli sales.

IAI dominates the Israeli defence presence in New Delhi and is about to conclude a 1.1 billion USDs project of supplying three phalcon airborne early-warning systems to the Indian Air Force.

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