India, Israel to work on 10-year roadmap for defence cooperation | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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India, Israel to work on 10-year roadmap for defence cooperation

Oct 29, 2021 09:11 PM IST

The India-Israel joint working group (JWG) on defence cooperation has decided to set up a task force to put together a comprehensive 10-year roadmap to identify new areas of collaboration, the defence ministry said on Friday

The India-Israel joint working group (JWG) on defence cooperation has decided to set up a task force to put together a comprehensive 10-year roadmap to identify new areas of collaboration, the defence ministry said on Friday.

Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid with external affairs minister S Jaishankar. (PTI file photo)
Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid with external affairs minister S Jaishankar. (PTI file photo)

Israel has been among India’s top three arms suppliers for the last five years, according to a report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) in March 2021. Israel accounted for 13% of India’s imports during 2016-20 after Russia (49%) and France (18%).

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The decision to form the task force to identify new areas of cooperation for the next decade was taken during the 15th JWG meeting co-chaired by defence secretary Ajay Kumar and the Director-General of Israel’s Ministry of Defence, Maj Gen Amir Eshel (retd) earlier this week.

“The two sides reviewed the progress made in military-to-military engagements including exercises and industry cooperation. The co-chairs were apprised of the progress made by the sub-working groups (SWGs) on defence procurement and production and research and development,” the ministry said in a statement.

India and Israel also agreed to form an SWG on defence industry cooperation for efficient utilisation of resources, effective flow of technologies and sharing industrial capabilities, officials said.

In September, the Indian Air Force inducted a medium-range surface-to-air-missile (MRSAM) system capable of knocking out aerial threats such as enemy fighter jets, missiles, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles at a range of 70 km.

India and Israel have jointly developed the MRSAM or the Barak 8 air defence system that includes advanced radar, command and control systems, and mobile launchers. The missile is powered by a locally-developed rocket motor and control system for high manoeuvrability in the terminal phase.

The system has been developed jointly by the Israel Aerospace Industries and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Other firms involved in the project include Israeli firm Rafael, Bharat Electronics Limited, Bharat Dynamics Limited and Larsen & Toubro.

A naval version of the MRSAM is already deployed on a few Indian warships to boost their anti-air warfare capabilities while the army has also placed orders for the MRSAM but it has not yet inducted the system, as previously reported by Hindustan Times.

India and Israel have inked separate deals worth around $3 billion over the last four years for advanced surface-to-air missile systems for the three services.

The ongoing border conflict with China in Ladakh forced India last year to speed up the purchase of military hardware from several countries including Israel, officials said.

India is sourcing from Israel the Firefly loitering ammunition, Spike anti-tank guided missiles, Spice guidance kits that can be mounted on standard bombs to convert them into smart weapons and an operational surface-to-air missile system as a 2017 order worth $2 billion for such advanced systems to take down hostile aircraft and missiles didn’t translate into deliveries.

India is also seeking greater participation of Israeli defence companies in the defence manufacturing sector under the new liberalised foreign direct investment (FDI) regime, the officials said.

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