Israel and India to build 10-year defense cooperation plan

Israel and India agreed to form a working group that will build a ten-year cooperation plan to identify new areas in defense cooperation between the two countries.

The plan, which will include acquisitions, production and defense research and development, was agreed last week during a visit last week by the director general of the Indian Ministry of Defense, Ajay Kumar.

Kumar met with his Israeli counterpart, the Director General of the Defense Ministry, Major General (retired) Amir Eshel at Kirya Military Headquarters in Tel Aviv for the 15th meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on cooperation in defending.

According to The times of IndiaDuring the meeting, the two officials discussed bilateral military-technology cooperation, as well as strategic challenges in the Middle East and Indo-Pacific regions.

“The two sides reviewed the progress made in the inter-military clashes, including exercises and industry cooperation,” the report quoted an Indian official, adding that “it was also decided to form a new sub-working group on the industry of defending”. cooperation.”

India recently participated in the international Blue Flag aerial drill, sending a squadron of Mirage fighters to Israel for the first time. India also participated in Blue Flag 2017.

Israel has been supplying India with various weapon systems, missiles and UAVs for the past few years, which has made India one of Israel’s largest buyers of military equipment.

Indian Foreign Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar (left) and Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (right). October 18, 2021 (credit: AVI HAYUN / FOREIGN MINISTRY)

A 2020 report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute found that Israel’s arms exports in the past four years have been the highest in history, accounting for three percent of the world total.

The Jewish state was found to be the world’s eighth largest arms supplier and its arms exports were 77 percent higher than between 2010-2014.

According to the report, the top three customers for Israeli weapons were India (45 percent of the total amount), Azerbaijan (17 percent) and Vietnam (8.5 percent). Arms sales to India have consistently totaled more than $ 1 billion a year.

In September, India bought four Heron MK IIs from Israel Aerospace Industries in a deal worth about $ 200 million as part of the country’s plans to upgrade the military amid the ongoing border battle with China.

The Indian Air Force already operates more than 180 Israeli-made UAVs, including IAI-made seekers and 68 unarmed Heron 1s for surveillance and intelligence gathering, as well as a fleet of Harpy UAVs produced by the IAI, which carry a highly explosive, self-propelled warhead. -destroy to eliminate targets like radar stations.

Last year, the Indian cabinet approved an order for two AWAC Phalcons from Israel in a deal, reportedly, for around $ 1 billion that had been in the works for the past several years.

Mounted on a Russian Ilyushin-76 heavy lift aircraft, the system has an Active Electronic Steering Array (AESA), an L-band radar with 360 ° coverage, and can detect and track incoming aircraft, cruise missiles and drones. before ground radars.

The first three Phalcon AWACS were obtained by the Indian Air Force in 2009 after a $ 1.1 billion deal was signed between India, Israel and Russia in 2004.

The two countries have also signed contracts to manufacture and supply BARAK 8 / MRSAM missile kits for the Indian Army and Air Force.

The MR-SAM system, jointly developed by the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in close collaboration with Israel’s Aviation Industry (IAI), is a ground-based configuration of the long-range surface-to-air missile. (LRSAM). or the Barak-8 naval air defense system.

Capable of shooting down enemy aircraft at a distance of 50 to 70 kilometers, it will help protect India from enemy aircraft and replace the country’s old air defense systems.

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