Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
India on Wednesday said that the Washington Post report about the United States Secretary of State Colin Powell's 'objection' to Israel's proposed sale of the Arrow Weapon System to it does not put forward the 'distilled essence of Washington's views on the subject'.
The Washington Post had on Tuesday reported that Powell had objections to India's plans to buy the sophisticated Arrow system and would convey them to New Delhi during his visit (starting on July 28).
"And to presume that the report contains the essence of those views would be quite off the mark," Ministry of External Affairs spokeswoman Nirupama Rao told a reporter who wanted to know India's response to Powell's reported objections.
"The report doesn't present the whole picture, that's all I would like to say," she said. "We view our relationship with the United States in a very different light than what has been reported."
The report had said that Israel's sale of the Arrow missile system to India could 'exacerbate friction between the two countries and provide other nations with a justification to peddle missile technology'.
It quoted a senior official in Washington as telling the daily: "We have concerns about the introduction of more missiles into this area (south Asia). It could be destabilsing."
When contacted for comments on the proposed sale, Israeli embassy press attaché Yaron Meyer said, "Normally, we do not talk on such issues. I will not be able to say anything."
However, an official specialising in Israeli studies at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses told rediff.com that the sale of the Arrow Weapon System 'was in the final stages of negotiation between New Delhi and Jerusalem'.
"Of course, we don't want to advertise the impending acquisition," he added.
He indicated that Israel's sale of the Arrow missile was through contract and that most of the formalities had been completed.
He also drew attention to the fact that the proposed sale of the Arrow missiles has supporters in the US government who have argued that Washington's willingness for defence cooperation with New Delhi would improve Indo-US ties.
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