India, Israel Strike Weapons Deal
Israeli officials say India and the Jewish state have signed a weapons contract worth $2 billion, said reports.
A spokesman from the Israeli Defense Ministry was quoted by BBC Online as saying that Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI)would supply India with aircraft, radar systems and surface-to-surface missiles.
The deal is reported to include three Phalcon early warning aircraft, which Israel is said to have been prevented from supplying to China because of objections from the United States.
There has been no confirmation of the deal from the Indian government, said the BBC.
Haaretz reported Tuesday that IAI will also deliver surface-to-surface naval Barak missiles, worth $280 million, pilotless planes valued at $300 million, and Green Pine radar systems, estimated at $250 million, Haaretz said.
The radar is used in the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system deployed in Israel, after being developed in collaboration with the United States.
In addition, IAI will develop a Super Barak missile for India, which will have twice the capability of the original Barak surface-to-surface missiles.
The contract was signed at IAI headquarters in Lod, near Tel Aviv.
Haaretz added that potential deals with HAL include the upgrading of Russian-built Indian warplanes -- MiG-21s, MiG-29s and Sukhois -- as well as Mil-8s and Mil-17 helicopters and T-72 tanks.
The Israeli defense contractor, Soltham, has also been commissioned to design a towed howitzer for the Indian army.
The defense deal comes after last week's controversial Maariv newspaper report that Indian UN troops were paid off by the Lebanese Hizbollah group to allow the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers in a disputed border area nine months ago.
Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer moved swiftly to mend fences, saying last Saturday "No one is accusing India," according to AFP.
The agency said that Israel and India only restored diplomatic ties in 1992 after a 40-year break but have since forged a solid military partnership that the Arab world insists is centered on nuclear weapons cooperation -- a charge vigorously denied by New Delhi.
AFP added that India's defense ministry already has a $270 million deal to outfit its navy with Israeli shipboard missiles, while Israel has expressed interest in buying Indian-made Lakshya drone aircraft – Albawaba.com
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