Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is all set to touch down in India on Tuesday, the first such ministerial visit after the two countries established full diplomatic ties in 1992.
During his visit, India is all set to finalize several major defense deals with Israel, including the ones for two additional Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) and four aerostat radars, together worth well over $1.5 billion.
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From Heron and Searcher UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), Harop “killer” drones and Green Pine radars to Python and Derby air-to-air missiles and Crystal Maze precision-guided munitions, as well as several joint projects, Israel has notched up sales worth over $10 billion to India.
The figure will only head further north, with the finance ministry now vetting the acquisition of two more Phalcon AWACS or “eyes in the sky” that can detect incoming fighters, cruise missiles and drones much before ground-based radars.
India already has three Phalcon AWACS in the shape of Israeli early-warning radar suites mounted on Russian IL-76 aircraft, which were inducted under a $1.1 billion tripartite agreement among India, Israel and Russia in 2004.
In recent months, India has gone in for acquisition of 250 Israeli Spice missiles or “stand-off autonomous air-to-ground weapon systems” for fighter jets and two additional “troops” of Heron medium altitude, long-endurance UAVs.
Relations between India and Israel have also considerably warmed up after the new government took over in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had met in New York in September last year on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is expected to visit Israel after the new government there is in place.
Ya’alon will head a senior delegation of Ministry of Defense officials, including Director General of Ministry of Defense Maj. Gen. (Res.) Dan Harel and CEOs of Israeli Defense companies.
Fifteen Israeli companies and hundreds of Israeli representatives will take part in the Aero India event.