Report: Israel, India Set to Tie Up $3B Defense Deal

YERUSHALAYIM -
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris on November 30, 2015. Amos Ben Gershom/GPO
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (L) meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the COP21 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Le Bourget, outside Paris, on Nov. 30, 2015. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)

Israel and India are set to sign a deal worth $3 billion, in which Israel will supply New Delhi with advanced defense systems. The deal will make Israel one of the three biggest suppliers of defense systems and weapons to the country of nearly a billion people.

The deal would have Israel sell India mid-range surface to air missiles, laser defense systems, bunker-buster bombs, and advanced defense radar systems. The deal has been in the works for months, and after long deliberation the Indian government is set to approve it within the next month, Israel Radio reported Thursday.

Relations between Israel and India have grown significantly over the last few years. Israel has reportedly supplied India with numerous defense systems, and Israeli technology firms, especially in the area of agricultural technology, have built extensive ties with Indian firms and farmers. In 2007, Indian irrigation firm Jain purchased 50 percent of Israel’s NaanDan, which has developed numerous innovations in drip irrigation technology, buying out the rest of the company in 2012.

Last month, Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and said that her country was determined to further ties with Israel. “Our bilateral cooperation has developed well in a number of areas over the past two decades, but the potential of our relations is much more,” she said at a press conference with Netanyahu. “I’m looking forward to my meetings with the Israeli leadership. I hope to discuss the entire spectrum of our bilateral relationship.”

“We are intensifying our contacts and our cooperation in so many fields – in the fields of science and technology and cyber and defense and agriculture and health – everything,” said Netanyahu. “And we want to do more. We are both ancient nations, ancient civilizations. We treasure our past. We take pride in our heritage, but at the same time we want to seize the future, and the future belongs to those who innovate. Israel and India are at the cutting edge of so many areas of innovation, and by working together we can do a lot more for our peoples and for the world. So we admire India. We view India as a great friend.”