One project India has urged Israel to hasten is the Long Range Surface to Air Missile program, intended to arm Indian warships, including the INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier. (India Ministry of Defence/AFP)
NEW DELHI — India and Israel may reach a new level of defense cooperation under the new government in Delhi, with both sides discussing a list of defense items that could be supplied to India on a government-to-government basis.
Indian Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur discussed the wish list with his Israeli defense counterparts during his July 1-3 visit to Tel Aviv, said an Indian Ministry of Defense official.
“The move to strike government-to-government tie ups with Israel, as was done with the United States, is aimed at fast pacing the procurement of weaponry and avoiding the open competition route, which has been time consuming and laced with controversies” said Nitin Mehta, a defense analyst here.
The weapons wish list includes unspecified numbers of Sword Fish high-powered radars for ground tracking, and purchase of unspecified numbers of 1,000-kilogram new generation precision guided munitions, and a variety of missiles.
India also wants to purchase two additional airborne warning and control systems from Israel, in addition to the four already contracted in 2005.
India, however, urged Israel to speed up the delayed Indo-Israeli Long Range Surface to Air Missile project for its recently acquired Russian aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya. The $600 million project, launched in 2005 to arm Indian warships, is still in the trial stages whereas it was scheduled for induction by mid-2012. The delay has left the carrier without any anti-missile systems. ■