Israel Denies Plan to Train Indians Troops in Counter-Terrorism

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:13 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - Israel is denying a report that it plans to train thousands of Indian troops in counter-terrorism measures.

A report in the Press Trust of India news agency on Sunday said Israel would train about 3,000 Indian soldiers in groups to fight Islamic militants in Kashmir. Indian defense ministry officials were quoted as saying that a delegation would be sent to Israel next week to discuss the anti-insurgency warfare training.

The report also said that Israel had signed a $30-million agreement with India to provide advanced light weapons systems.

Israeli Defense Ministry spokeswoman Rachel Niedak-Ashkenazi declined to comment on any weapons agreement, and she said she knew of no plan to train Indian soldiers.

"As a rule, the Defense Ministry does not give information about defense exports," Niedak-Ashkenazi said in a written response to a query.

"One reason is that [the Defense Ministry] is bound to client confidentiality. It is the right of clients to publicize the information," she said.

"However, in this particular case, I would like to clarify that there is no planned anti-terror training activity we know of for Indian soldiers," she added.

An India-Israel Joint Working Group on counter-terrorism met for the first time a year ago and for a second time last summer.

Both Israel and India have blamed deadly terror attacks on militant Islamic groups. Both countries have said they will not engage in diplomatic dialogue with their enemies until terrorism stops.

In an earlier interview, Dr. Martin Sherman from the Institute of Policy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzylia near Tel Aviv said that Israel and India have many things in common.

They both face a threat from a sizeable Muslim minority against a non-Muslim majority; both are democratic governments constrained by their own laws when it comes to taking action against the threat; both face enemies with non-conventional weapons; and both exist in a region with a great number of religious extremists.