India-Israel Defence Cooperation

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    • Israel has been closely working with the Indian defence forces to tailor solutions for their defence needs.

    More about the India-Israel defence Cooperation

    • Evolution:
      • The defence cooperation & relationship between India & Israel has evolved over time – from being an importer of Israeli tech and equipment, Indian companies are now collaborating with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) on a variety of ventures.
    • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs):
      • Heron MK II:
        • Induction of Heron MK II, a state-of-the-art UAV that can fly at a height of 35,000 feet, cover a radius of 1000 km, see through dense clouds, work in bad weather and fly for 45 hours. 
        • It’s learnt that MK IIs are being deployed in Leh.
        • MK II can also be used for search and rescue operations.
      • Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE)  Heron TPs:
        • Last year, the Indian Army had also taken on lease Heron TPs, a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for all-weather missions, from IAI. 
        • Heron TP drones are one of the two drones made in Israel that can be armed if needed.
      • UAVs manufacturing in India:
        • After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel in 2017, the IAI had signed an agreement with Elcom Systems and Dynamatic Technologies for the manufacture of UAVs in India.
        • The IAI and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have signed a joint venture whereby IAI will not only offer UAVs to India but also help HAL in manufacturing them in India.
    • Aircrafts:
      • HAL has signed a memorandum of understanding with IAI to convert civil passenger aircraft into a multi-mission tanker transport (MMTT) for air refuelling with cargo and transport capabilities. 
        • The MoU also covers conversion of passenger planes into freighter aircraft.
      • Upgradation of MiG 21s:
        • Israel has been upgrading India’s aircraft systems such as MiG 21s; 
      • LCA & ALH:
        • Israel is also cooperating on developing Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) with Indian aeronautic giants.
    • Missiles & ammunition:
      • Both government organisations and private industries are committed to co-developing defence systems. 
      • New Delhi is also sourcing Firefly loitering ammunition, Spike anti-tank guided missiles, and Spice guidance kits from Tel Aviv.
      • BARAK 8:
        • Israel Aerospace Industries and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have codeveloped a medium-range surface-to-air-missile (MRSAM), named as BARAK 8 Air defence system.
    • Other:
      • India imports critical defence technologies from Israel such as 
        • Searcher, a multi-mission tactical UAV; 
        • Air defence systems such as SPYDER-MR; 
        • Beyond visual range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAM) such as Python-5, Derby, etc.
      • Indian armed forces use Israeli Phalcon AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control Systems).
    • Joint Exercises:
      • Military-to-military engagements including joint exercises and defence industry collaboration are on the upsurge.
      • India recently participated in the Blue Flag training event with a C-130J special operations aircraft and Garud commandos.
    • Security & Counter-Terrorism:
      • There is cooperation on security issues, including a Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism. 

    India-Israel relations

    • History:
      • India had recognised Israel as far back as 1950 but normalisation took another four decades. 
      • In 1992, started defence deals, and cooperation in science, technology and agriculture.
      • The first high-level visits
        • In 2000, L K Advani became the first Indian minister to visit Israel
        • The two countries set up a joint anti-terror commission in 2000.
        • And in 2003, Ariel Sharon became the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit India.
    • Economic and Commercial Relations:
      • The bilateral merchandise trade grew from USD 200 million in 1992 to USD 6.35 billion (excluding defence) during the period 2021-2022, with the balance of trade being in India’s favour.
      • India is Israel’s third-largest trade partner in Asia and seventh largest globally.
      • In recent years, bilateral trade has diversified into several sectors such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture, IT and telecom, and homeland security.
      • Israeli companies have been instrumental in transferring technology to India in areas like renewable energy, telecom, water technologies. 
        • Many of them have also set up R&D centers in India.
      • The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries is also on cards.
    • Cooperation in Agriculture:
      • A three-year joint work program has been signed between the two countries in 2021 for the development in agriculture cooperation.
      • It is aimed at establishing Centers of Excellence, intensifying value chains and encouraging private investment.
      • India has benefited from Israeli expertise and technologies in horticulture mechanization, orchard and canopy management, micro-irrigation and post-harvest management.
      • Israeli drip irrigation technologies and products are now widely used in India. 
      • Some Israeli companies and experts are providing expertise to manage and improve dairy farming in India through their expertise in high milk yield. 
    • Science & Technology:
      • The two countries have established a Joint Committee on S&T, established under the S&T Cooperation Agreement signed in 1993. 
      • India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F) has been set up to secure cooperation between the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Government of India, and the Israel Innovation Authority, Government of Israel to promote, facilitate and support joint industrial R&D projects.
      • It will address the challenges in the agreed ‘Focus Sectors’
    • Energy:
      • Tamar and Leviathan gas fields off the coast of Israel were explored recently and India has been one of the first countries to bid for an exploration license in order to extract and import natural gas from the fields.
      • India’s ONGC Videsh, Bharat PetroResources, Indian Oil and Oil India were awarded an exploration license by the Israeli government, a clear sign of ongoing diversification in ties between the two countries.

    Source: TH