News ID: 207498
Published: 0609 GMT January 03, 2018

India to buy $260mn worth of Israeli missiles, Russian bombs

India to buy $260mn worth of Israeli missiles, Russian bombs

The Indian Defense Ministry has authorized major arms deals with Israel and Russia, as the country steps up efforts to modernize its military amid territorial disputes with neighbors China and Pakistan.

Under the first deal that the ministry announced on Tuesday, the Indian Navy would receive up to 131 Barak surface-to-air missiles worth $72 million, AFP reported.

The missiles are probably of the Barak 8 type that Israeli weapons manufacturer Rafael has jointly developed with its Indian partners and would be used to replace India's aging Barak 1 air defense systems.

The weapons would also be deployed onboard India's first locally built aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant, which is still under construction.

The news came a fortnight ahead of a high-profile visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel is one of the top three weapons suppliers to India.

Last year, the Indian Navy had announced a global tender for 10 short-range surface-to-air missile systems and 600 missiles at the cost of about $1.5 billion.

But the time-consuming process prompted Indian officials to drop the plan and go ahead with a follow-on offering of Barak missiles.

Last year, New Delhi granted a $2 billion deal to another Israeli firm - Israeli Aerospace Industries - in order to equip the Indian Army and Navy with missile defense systems.

Days before finalizing the Barak deal, India informed Rafael that it was cancelling a $500 million agreement for 1,600 Spike anti-tank missiles. New Delhi agreed to the contract in 2014, preferring the Israeli missiles over the Javelin system offered by Washington.

The Indian Defense Ministry says it would instead invest the money in a domestic alternative that the state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has promised to deliver in four years.

Bomb deal with Russia

As an extension of its wide-ranging military cooperation with Russia, the Indian Defense Ministry also announced a $188 million deal to buy 240 bombs from Russia's JSC Rosonboron Exports.

"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.

In late December, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Moscow was looking forward to finalizing a contract to supply India with four to five regiments of S-400 Triumf advanced Air Defense Systems.

India has signed a number of major military deals since 2014, the year Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power.

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