India to buy missiles from Israel, bombs from Russia

News of $93m deal with Israel comes ahead of Netanyahu's visit

NEW DELHI • India is to buy 131 surface-to-air missiles from Israel in a US$70 million (S$93 million) deal, the Defence Ministry said yesterday, ahead of a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Barak missiles made by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defence Systems are to be used aboard India's first locally built aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant, which is under construction, reported Agence France-Presse.

Mr Netanyahu will lead a business delegation to India on a four-day trip expected in the middle of this month. Israel has become a major defence supplier to India, selling an average of US$1 billion worth of military equipment each year.

Last April, the two countries signed a military deal worth nearly US$2 billion, which includes the supply over several years of medium-range surface-to-air missiles, launchers and communications technology.

It was unclear whether the agreement that was announced yesterday was part of that.

The Barak-8 naval air defence system, a long-range surface-to-air missile system, was jointly developed by India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with Israel Aircraft Industry.

CAPABILITIES BOOST

This procurement will address the deficiency of precision-guided munitions in the IAF (Indian Air Force) arsenal, besides enhancing the offensive capabilities of the IAF.

INDIA'S DEFENCE MINISTRY, on the deal to purchase 240 bombs from Russia'sJSC Rosonboron Exports.

The ship-borne anti-missile defence system is designed to target anti-ship missiles, said the Indian Defence Ministry in a statement.

The system consists of an advanced phased-array radar, command and control systems, and launchers and missiles that are equipped with advanced radio frequency seekers.

The state-of-the-art technology provides missile defence against a variety of aerial, naval and airborne threats.

The Indian Defence Ministry also said that it had approved the purchase of 240 bombs from Russia's JSC Rosonboron Exports for US$188 million, reported Agence France-Presse.

"This procurement will address the deficiency of precision-guided munitions in the IAF (Indian Air Force) arsenal, besides enhancing the offensive capabilities of the IAF," it said in a statement.

The proposals were cleared by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at a meeting of India's Defence Acquisition Council yesterday.

India, which has longstanding territorial disputes with neighbours China and Pakistan, has signed several big-ticket defence deals since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.

It has, however, been moving away from relying on traditional ally Russia for military hardware.

The agreement with Israel comes just weeks after India reportedly cancelled a deal worth half a billion dollars with Rafael Advanced Defence Systems for the purchase of Spike anti-tank guided missiles.

It is understood that the Indian government asked the DRDO to scrap the deal and develop a home-grown anti-tank missile in an attempt to bolster the country's own defence industry.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2018, with the headline 'India to buy missiles from Israel, bombs from Russia'. Print Edition | Subscribe