An assertive defence minister on Thursday asked Russia and Israel, India’s trusted arms suppliers, to make sure that they stick to deadlines for the supply of military equipment required by India.
With huge time and cost overruns holding back the military’s modernisation, Defence Minister AK Antony expressed his “anxiety” to the Ambassadors of Russia and Israel while dedicating India’s first Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) to the country.
The delivery of the AWACS platform — a tripartite venture involving Russia, Israel and India — was delayed by around 18 months as it involved some complex integration of a multitude of systems. India had contracted three AWACS in 2005 in a deal worth over $ 1.1 billion (Rs 5,280 crore). The remaining two are likely to be inducted in about 18 months.
Antony said the two countries, “You have to deliver the remaining two systems on time”.