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When An Israeli Arms Firm Went Full Dhinchak Pooja to Woo India

A step-by-step guide on how to lose your dignity.

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It takes a lot of misfortune and misery for someone to let go their dignity and do things they would regret. All it took for Rafael — an Israeli arms company — was a song that would put cringe-pop to shame when they tried to woo the Indian army.

In 2009, the multi-billion dollar company’s marketing team clearly got the brief “all Indians love singing and dancing” because they came up with a Bollywood-style music video to get India to buy arms from them.

Sadly, viral was not a concept back then, or this would be the only video being played on prime time TV debates, and Rafael Nadal would be boycotted on Twitter.

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India is shown as the damsel in distress who needs saving by the leather jacket-wearing ‘bad boy’, who is offering “security” and “protection”. Subtle.

Throughout, there’s three girls dancing in the back and a Hanuman with sanjeevani booti on the wall, wishing he could fly out of the frame.

The chorus, with the evocative lyrics, “together, forever, I will hold you in my heart”, gets lost in the atrocious gyrating that’s being passed off as choreographed Bollywood dancing.

The video was debuted at 2009 Aero India, the aviation exhibition held at Bengaluru.

For reasons evading the author, it was not well-received by India. In an interview to StratPost shortly after the show, one Indian Army officer said:

Is this any way to market arms? Who will buy from you if you do this sort of thing?

Another Air Force Officer is reported to have said:

While it can be seen as funny – perhaps a humorous parody – it’s likely to hurt the sensitivities of many people. Maybe Rafael should have thought of this before producing something like this.
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Did the Video Work?

Well, it didn’t hurt. The cringeworthy attempt did not deter India from later establishing a relationship with the $16 billion company.

In 2016, the Executive Vice-President of Rafael said that India was a “win-win situation” for them. The company has a joint venture with Bharat Forge for land systems and also signed one with Reliance Defence for air missile systems. This deal will oversee projects worth $65 million over the course of 10 years.

In 2012, Mahindra had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the company for developing Anti Torpedo Defence Systems, Electronic Warfare Systems, Advanced Armouring Solutions and remotely operated weapon stations for Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicles (FICV).

(This story was first published on 3 July 2017 and has been reposted from The Quint's archives as India and Israel renew talks on the $500 million missile deal during Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu's six-day visit to India.)

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Topics:  India   Israel   Defence 

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