India, Israel defence trade crosses $10b with Phalcon deal
Rahul Datta | New Delhi
As the first Israeli made Phalcon AWAC(airborne early warning system) lands in India next month
, the race between Israel and Russia will hot up for the biggest defence partner of India. This deal for the
IAF is for three Phalcons worth over $ 1.1 billion and Israel has already crossed the $10 billion mark in defence trade with India and the ties continue to grow stronger and robust.
By the time other two state-of-the-art Phalcons join the IAF by the end of this year, the overall trade figures between India and Israel will tell a different story. The main reason for the fast-growing ties between the two countries is Israel's willingness to part with the latest technology and knowhow to India without any strings attached.
In fact, Israel has, time and again, defied the US also in these matters and the Phalcon deal is one such example
when the US had serious reservations about Israel supplying latest technology to India, sources said here on Tuesday.
The other crucial factor in strengthening of defence relations between the two countries is Israel and India joining hands in several key research and development projects. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is playing a major role in this field and nearly 30 of its projects, which were stalled due to denial of cutting edge technology, are now on track courtesy agreements with their Israeli counterparts, they said.
Israel is acknowledged as the world leader in research and development and manufacturing hi-tech equipment for all kinds of weapons used by the three services, avionics, electronic warfare systems, upgradation of tanks, guns, ships and aircraft.
They are also world leaders in manufacturing systems for fighting terrorism and checking infiltration and our 750-km long anti-infiltration along the Line of Control (LOC) in Jammu and Kashmir has deployed several Israeli made thermal imagers and detection systems.
The Israeli industry and the DRDO are now heavily engaged in projects like upgradation of crucial systems like missiles, radars and Israel has already supplied the technology of its best known Greenpine radar to India, sources said adding this technology has hugely helped the DRDO and other agencies in developing missiles.
Similarly, the air defence system, which is comparatively weak at the moment, will see greater Israeli presence in the next few months. The Israeli industry is keenly eyeing the upgradation contract for the radars to detect low-flying aircraft and is already engaged in a joint development project with the DRDO on radars
, sources said.
One more important area of involvement is the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and the two countries have already inked deals for buying off the shelf UAV and collaboration in development of UAVs with the DRDO.
Having supplied Barak anti-ship cruise to the Indian Navy, Israel and India are now jointly working on the development of the second and third generation of Barak missiles as this system has proved to be very effective.
Given this intense defence relationship between the two countries, which started only after the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1990, Israel, however, will take some more years to upstage Russia as the number one partner of India, they said.
Citing plausible reasons, they said Israel lacks the industrial infrastructure to manufacture really big-ticket items like warships, fighter aircraft and tanks to name a few. Russia beats Israel in this field and continues to be a steadfast partner of India for the last 40 years.
At present, India uses more than 70 per cent inventory including weapons and systems of erstwhile Soviet Union and Russia and India continues to rely heavily on Russia. To give an example, we have just bought more than 300 T-90 main battle tanks from Russia, inked an agreement for joint development of a fifth generation fighter aircraft and multi-role transport aircraft.
The Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier deal, which is witnessing some controversies with Russia jacking up the price over the agreed contract price, is another big-ticket item.
However, the relationshp with Israel is growing at great speed despite the Left raising objections and the UPA Government ignoring even when the Left was supporting the Congress-led alliance.
Moreover, the defence bonds have expanded rather quietly over the years and Israel has always maintained low profile while talking about ties with India in this sphere. The trade volume, however, gives away the secret and Israel is slowly closing the gap even as Russia continues to notch up trade worth over $ 1.5 billion with India every year.http://www.dailypioneer.com/161908/Indi ... -deal.html