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India Exporting Rockets, Explosives to Israel Amid Global Uproar: Reports

While India has openly shown support for Palestine, it has also been accused of supplying arms to Israel, potentially facilitating assaults on Gaza. Recent reports seen by Al Jazeera, along with company statements, suggest that Israel is receiving weapons from India. Since October 7, the Israeli military has reportedly killed over 38,000 Palestinians, including those […]

While India has openly shown support for Palestine, it has also been accused of supplying arms to Israel, potentially facilitating assaults on Gaza. Recent reports seen by Al Jazeera, along with company statements, suggest that Israel is receiving weapons from India. Since October 7, the Israeli military has reportedly killed over 38,000 Palestinians, including those in Gaza and the West Bank.

Cargo carrying Indian weapons faces protests in Spain

In the early hours of May 15, the cargo vessel Borkum paused off the coast of Spain, near Cartagena. Protesters at the port, waving Palestinian flags, demanded an inspection of the ship, suspecting it carried weapons destined for Israel. Leftist members of the European Parliament appealed to Spanish President Pedro Sánchez, urging him to prevent the ship from docking. They argued that allowing a ship loaded with arms for Israel would be complicit in the transit of weapons to a country under investigation for alleged genocide against Palestinians.

Before the Spanish government could respond, the Borkum abandoned its planned stop and continued to the Slovenian port of Koper. Inigo Errejon, the spokesperson for the hard-left Sumar party, claimed the Borkum’s diversion confirmed suspicions about its cargo.

However, the debate over the ship’s docking overlooked the origins of its cargo. Documents seen by Al Jazeera revealed that the Borkum was transporting explosives loaded in India and was headed to Israel’s port of Ashdod, located about 30 km from the Gaza Strip. Marine tracking data showed the ship left Chennai, India, on April 2 and circumvented Africa to avoid the Red Sea, where Yemen’s Houthis have been targeting vessels in retaliation for Israel’s actions.

What was the ship carrying?

According to unofficial documentation obtained by the Solidarity Network Against the Palestinian Occupation (RESCOP), the Borkum was carrying 20 tonnes of rocket engines, 12.5 tonnes of rockets with explosive charges, 1,500 kg of explosive substances, and 740 kg of charges and propellants for cannons. A confidentiality clause mandated that all associated personnel refrain from mentioning IMI Systems or Israel. IMI Systems, a defence firm, was acquired by Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer, in 2018.

Despite these findings, the ship’s commercial manager, the German company MLB Manfred Lauterjung Befrachtung, denied in a statement to Al Jazeera that the vessel was carrying any weapons or cargo destined for Israel.

In past, there have been other incidences where ships transporting ammunition to Israel from India have been restricted. On May 21, another cargo ship from India was denied entry to the port of Cartagena. The Marianne Danica, which departed from Chennai, was reportedly en route to Israel’s port of Haifa with 27 tonnes of explosives. Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Manuel Albares confirmed in a news conference that the ship was barred from docking due to its military cargo bound for Israel.

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