Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to sign the deal during his possible visit to Israel later this year.
New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Security, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for joint development of a medium-range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) for the Indian Army by the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), reports said. The deal for 40 firing units and about 200 missiles is valued at around Rs 17,000 crores.
The delivery of the first system will begin within 72 months of signing the contract and will be deployed for operations by 2023. The MR-SAM is a land-based version of the long-range surface-to-air missile (LR-SAM) for the Navy and will have a strike range of up to 70 km.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to sign the deal during his possible visit to Israel later this year, that will also mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has claimed that India was the biggest buyer of weapons from 2012 to 2016, accounting for 13 per cent of global arms sales. India is also Israel’s largest buyer of military hardware, including various weapons systems, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles over the past few years, but these transactions have largely been secretive.
“The joint development and the extensive cooperation between the industries in both countries is a testimonial to the strong partnership between the two nations. IAI is proud to lead this impressive cooperation and is highly obligated to its continuing success”, Israel Aerospace Industries president and CEO Joseph Weiss was quoted in the Israeli media as having said.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had visited India in November 2016, when both sides had decided to “broadbase” their already close defence partnership.