INDIA ISRAEL DEFENCE COOPERATION

INDIA ISRAEL DEFENCE COOPERATION

Context:

  • The 15th Joint Working Group (JWG) on Bilateral Défense Collaboration between India and Israel has agreed to organize a Task Force to develop a comprehensive ten-year road plan to identify new areas of cooperation.

India-Israel Joint Working Group on Défense:

  • The Joint Working Group (JWG) is the highest organization of both nations’ defence ministries, tasked with “comprehensively reviewing and guiding all elements of Bilateral Défense Cooperation.”
  • The formation of a Sub Working Group (SWG) on Défense Industry Cooperation was also decided at the conference. 

The formation of this SWG would make it possible to:

  • The most effective use of bilateral resources
  • Technology flow is efficient, and industrial capabilities are shared.
  • It was also determined that the Service level Staff talks would take place at a certain time.

Defence cooperation between India and Israel:

Background: 

  • During the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the two countries initiated strategic cooperation.
  • In the 1965 war against Pakistan, Israel supplied India with M-58 160-mm mortar ammunition.
  • It was one of the few countries not to denounce India’s nuclear testing at Pokhran in 1998.
  • Even after the sanctions and international isolation following the nuclear testing, it continued to trade armaments with India.

Respective National Interests: 

  • India and Israel’s strong bilateral ties are motivated by their respective national interests.

India’s long-awaited military modernization goals:

  • Israel’s comparative advantage in the commercialization of its military-industrial complex.
  • In addition to Israeli arms sales to India, the scope of defence cooperation has expanded to cover other fields such as space, counter-terrorism, cyber security, and intelligence sharing.
  • In 2017, India was Israel’s largest armaments customer, with sales totalling $715 million USD.
  • According to a survey by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Israel is India’s third largest exporter of defence products, trailing only Russia and the United States.

India imports the following Israeli defence technologies:

UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles):

  • The Searcher is a multi-mission tactical Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) that can be used for surveillance, target acquisition, artillery adjustments, and damage assessment.
  • Adani Defence and Elbit Systems launched the first India-Israel defence joint venture in Hyderabad in December 2018.
  • Heron is a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is primarily used for strategic purposes.

System of Air Défense:

BARAK: As a low-range air defence interceptor, the surface-to-air missile can be used. BARAK-8 is the name given to the BARAK version in India (for naval vessels).

Missiles:

Spike: These are 4th generation Anti-Tank Missiles with a range of up to 4 kilometres and the ability to fire and forget.

  • Crystal Maze is an Indian derivative of the AGM-142A Popeye air-to-surface missile, which was developed jointly by Rafael in Israel and Lockheed Martin in the United States.

Sensors:

  • The STGR radar was bought by India to make the INS Kolkata, INS Shivalik, and INS Kamorta-class frigates compatible with the deployment of BARAK-8 SAM missiles.

Phalcon: This Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) is also known as the “eyes in the sky” of the Indian Air Force.

The Importance of India-Israel Military Cooperation:

Patrolling and Surveillance: Israeli imports make it easier for armed personnel to operate in times of war.

  • The missile defence systems and ammunition, for example, were critical in containing the escalation between India and Pakistan following the Balakot air strikes.

Make in India: Israel’s export-oriented defence industry and willingness to form joint ventures complement both “Make in India” and “Make with India” in the defense sector.

Trusted Supplier: Israel has long been a “no-questions-asked” supplier, meaning that it freely distributes even its most advanced technology.

  • During the Kargil War in 1999, it gained even more credibility.

Next Steps:

  • Because the United States perceives India as a key player in preserving the Indo-Pacific balance of power, more technologies are likely to be transferred in the future.
  • These technologies can be flexibly deployed to various military wings if India and the US improve their strategic understanding.

Upscaling Joint Ventures: Indo-Israeli defence cooperation must be expanded up in terms of Joint Ventures (JV) and Joint Research and Development (RD), which can serve as a force multiplier in realizing India’s desire to become a significant global power.

Using Technological Expertise: The strategic partnership between India and Israel has a lot of potential and is only going to get bigger. 

  • As the two countries seek a broader convergence, the arms trade will remain the bedrock of their relationship.
  • With the ideological and leadership winds blowing in favour of a growing collaboration, the moment is perfect for India to tap into Israel’s technological know-how to modernize its ailing defence industry.

Source: THE HINDU.

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