PM Netanyahu (L) and Indian PM Narenda Modi. (Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90) (Avi Ohayon/GPO/FLASH90)
Indian PM Modi and Netanyahu

Israel and India are deepening diplomatic ties and developing joint military projects simultaneously. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Israel later this year.

Israel and India are close to finalizing bilateral military deals and projects, collectively worth around $3 billion, ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to the Jewish State later this year.

The Economic Times quoted Indian defense ministry sources who said on Monday that at least three such deals are set to be approved by Indian’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in the coming weeks, consolidating Israel’s position as one of the top three arms suppliers to India.

The shared projects include the development of the Rs 10,000-crore medium-range surface-to-air missile system for the Indian Army, India’s acquisition of 164 laser-designation pods or Litening-4, as well as 250 advanced ‘Spice’ precision stand-off bombs capable of taking out fortified enemy underground command centers, both of which are produced by Israel’s Rafael.

Other projects are reportedly under discussion between the two parties.

In October 2014, India selected the Israeli Spike anti-tank projectile over the US-made Javelin missile system, but the actual contract has not been finalized.

In December 2015, Israel announced that the Barak 8 naval defense system tested successfully and intercepted two projectiles in a trial conducted in the Indian Ocean.

The defense project has been jointly developed by the Israel’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) and the Indian DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization) in recent years, and is due to become operational in both navy’s within a year or two.

Israel and India’s relations have warmed up considerably, and especially since  Modi took office.

In February 2015, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon visited India, where the two countries finalized a major defense deal worth more than $1.5 billion.

In December 2015, IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel visited India as a part of the strengthening of the cooperation between the forces.

Prime Ministers Netanyahu and Modi met at the UN last September, the first such meeting in over a decade.

“We’re very excited by the prospects of greater and greater ties with India. We think the sky is the limit,” Netanyahu stated after their meeting.

Israel and India, which have held full official diplomatic relations for the past 23 years, enjoy the sharing of technological development, and India is one of Israel’s biggest clients in the defense technologies market. In 2013, India was Israel’s 10th-largest trading partner and its third-largest in Asia, after China and Hong Kong.

By: United with Israel Staff

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