Modi's $250-bn plan to take on neighbour enemies includes 8000 Israeli missiles


India is about to sign two new defense deals with Israel before PM Narendra Modi's visit in July, thus strengthening the ties with the middle eastern nation.

These deals include Spike anti-tank missiles for India's army and and Barak-8 air defense missiles for its navy, people told Bloomberg requesting anonymity since the information is private. Modi will be the first Indian PM to visit Israel, and this indicates the increasing ties that Delhi has with Israel, other than being just the largest buyer of its military hardware.

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"The visit is a big milestone," Shailesh Kumar, senior Asia analyst at political risk firm Eurasia Group, told Bloomberg. "Officials in both countries believe they face a common external threat: terrorism. Working with Israel fits into Modi's bigger pivot of deeper relations with the U.S. given the U.S.-Israel friendship."

The new deals are expected to be finalized in the coming two months, and are reported to be worth $1.5 billion. Two years after the contract is signed, India will see the delivery of the 8,000 missiles, which are a part of Modi's $250-billion plan to modernize the armed forces by 2025 to tackle tensions with China and Pakistan, bordering countries with which India shares a war history.

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Defence Ministry spokesman Nitin Wakankar has not issues any statement on the deals.

As per a report from the Indian parliament, Israel has been the third-largest arms supplier to India for three consecutive fiscal years ending March 2016, and deals worth a total of 76 billion rupees ($1 billion) were signed between the two nations. Only the U.S. and Russia made more defense deals than Israel in this period.

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"India-Israel ties have always been strong but never have they been widely publicized,, said Ankur Gupta, New Delhi-based vice-president for Aerospace and Defence at Ernst & Young. "There is great strength and value in this relationship as Israel is one of India's foremost supplier of weapons and related high-end technology."

(Image source New Indian Express)