Israel-Gaza Fighting Keeps India's Rocket Motors in South Korea

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India's Border Security Force patrolling the India-Bangladesh border on August 11, 2014.Credit: Reuters

The Israel-Gaza war may have contributed to an abundance of projectiles over Israel's skies this past month, but it has also kept four rocket motors away from Israel – leaving India waiting as the motors languish in a warehouse in South Korea, Indian financial newspaper Business Standard reported Monday.

South Korea was meant to be a brief stopover for the motors of the Barak 8 surface-to-air missile, designed as part of a missile defense system. The missile, known in India as the LR-SAM, for "long-range surface-to-air missile," was co-developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and India's Defense Research and Development Organization.

These components were built in India and were on their way to Tel Aviv, via South Korea, to be integrated with the front section of the missiles and be tested, the Business Standard said.

But shortly after they reached Seoul on a Korean Air flight, the airline canceled all its flights to Israel because of the fighting, the report said. "Consequently, a crucial and secret sub-system of the world's most advanced anti-missile defence system has been languishing in a Korean Air warehouse in Seoul," where they have been stored for nearly a month, the paper said.

India's Defense Research and Development Organization chief Avinash Chander said India might send weapons parts on an Israel Air Force jet next time.
"We didn't think it necessary to send the rocket motors on an Indian Air Force flight," he told Business Standard. "But now we may do a rethink and use an IAF aircraft."

The project, whose development began in 2006, was supposed to be ready two years ago to protect Indian warships, the report said, but was delayed because Israel was busy developing another project: the Iron Dome missile defense system, which played a starring role in the fighting that kept India's missile motors grounded in South Korea this summer.

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