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By Bulbul Singh

16 Jul 07. Israel emerges India’s biggest defence R&D partner co-producing hi-tech systems.

Israel moves ahead of Russia in snatching development projects for Indian defence forces. Even as the Indian government approved $3bn co-developmen of air defence system between India and Israel, to replace aging Russian systems, sources said more such co-development and co-production projects are lined up between India and Israel in the future.

Both India and Israel have been facing external and internal security threats in the form of Islamic terrorism and sabotage and the growing defence ties between the two countries is natural remarked a defence ministry official.

Israel is helping in the development and production of hi-tech systems for the Indian defence forces including, advanced air defence systems, precision guided ammunition, submarine-launched nuclear missiles and even advanced cruise missiles, revealed sources in the Indian defence ministry.

Israel has taken the route of collaborating with Indian defence laboratories, Defence Research and Development Organisation,(DRDO)unlike the U.S., Russian and European companies which are largely engaged in the sale of defence equipment along with transfer of technology.

Israel has emerged as the largest supplier of defence equipment and weaponry to India since 1999, ranking second to Russia. Indian defence ministry officials admit that Russia could overtake Russia in the next few years to become the major supplier of weaponry to India directly and in collaboration with DRDO.

Israel has also made available unidentified numbers of Green Pine Radars to DRDO which is being used to build India’s homegrown anti-ballistic missile system said sources in DRDO. Besides, Israeli companies are directly involved in the development of an advanced nuclear-able cruise missile for the Indian defence forces added the sources. Israel is also helping India in the co-production of a hypersonic plane; no details are however available.

DRDO is also collaborating with Israeli companies for the development of nano-technologies and hi-tech components for the Electronic Warfare systems

Israel has also emerged as a valuable source of military technologies from its advanced defence industries with little outside pressure, added the Indian defence ministry sources.

For its part, Israeli hi-tech industries could benefit from the attractive Indian defence market to market, and co-produce its equipment remarked a Indian defence ministry official who added that the Israeli industries can benefit from India’s advanced IT industry to develop new generation hi-tech systems including C4I systems needed by the Indian defence forces.

Last week, the Indian government approved a $2.5bn program to co-produce surface-to air missile systems for the Indian defence forces in collaboration with Israel. The program will replace the aging Russian air defence system, Pechora. The system is an extended-range version of the air defence system Barak missile system which is to be produced jointly with India’s DRDO. While it has not been officially said what parts would be produced by the Indian entity, sources in DRDO said, majority of the system would be built by the Israeli companies.

Collaborations with Israel will help keep alive several DRDO projects which had been lying dormant due to delays and technical problems, said a scientist of DRDO. A defence ministry official admitted that Israeli help will be sought to complete hundreds of DRDO projects which have been delayed for over decades including the missiles to be developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program initiated in the early 80’s by DRDO. The program includes fast-reaction missiles like the Trishul, Medium Range air-defence system Akash, and anti-tank guided missile Nag.

Israel is also collaborating with DRDO

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