Israel’s state owned Aerospace Industries has struck a deal worth almost 2 billion dollars to supply India’s army and navy with missile defense systems, describing it as Israel’s largest defense deal. According to a statement by the Israeli company, it would supply an advanced air defense system, including medium-range surface-to-air missiles, launchers and communications and control technology, to the Indian army for around 1.6 billion dollars. An additional naval defense system, including long-range surface-to-air missiles, would be deployed on India’s first aircraft carrier, which is still being built.
The value of the deal to the Indian navy was not disclosed, but Aerospace industries revealed the total package was worth nearly 2 billion dollars. Until recently, India limited its defense ties with Israel out of fear of upsetting Arab countries, and its own large Muslim population. That reality has changed, however, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose nationalist party views Israel as an ally against Islamist militancy, has openly cultivated warmer ties with Jerusalem, and is due to visit Israel later this year. The improving ties between the two countries has situated Israel as one of the top three arms suppliers to India, which shares borders with nuclear-armed China and Pakistan. According to the US Congress, between 2008-2015, India was the world’s second largest developing-world arms purchaser.