Southeast Asia Can't Get Enough of Israel's Weapons

June 12, 2016 Topic: Security Region: Asia Tags: IsraelThailandVietnamSingaporeDefense

Southeast Asia Can't Get Enough of Israel's Weapons

These countries have built an unlikely friendship.

“In turn, Asia Pacific militaries will likely find Russian armaments to be an ever more appealing alternative to Western weapons systems. Russian weaponry is increasingly competitive when it comes to capability, quality, and costs. Particularly in the relatively open arms market that is Southeast Asia, therefore, Russian armaments should find an increasingly receptive welcome.”

This, in other words, means that there are chances for competition amongst the arms suppliers, including Israel. This will be likely in the field of missiles, antimissile systems and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), where Israel’s expertise is widely acknowledged.

Finally, the Israeli government will continue to encourage defense cooperation as a means of diversifying its revenue sources. Ongoing military cooperation with the mentioned Southeast Asian countries is relatively smooth, without any major obstacles. However, ties cannot be reinforced merely by promoting arms sales. It is often a matter of what options are available at different junctures. For the longevity of relations, robust political ties are a necessary force—currently lacking in Israeli–Southeast Asian ties. It has yet to be seen how far these arms recipients will render political support to Israel when it comes under international pressure, particularly over its Palestinian policies.

Alvite Ningthoujam is a Doctoral Candidate at the Centre for West Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. His areas of interest include Israeli military transfer programs, Sino-Israeli relations, and Indo-Israeli defense cooperation.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/KGyST