New Delhi: Even as it is engaged in a war against Hamas in Gaza, Israel has formally assured India that defence supplies will not take a hit, ThePrint has learnt.
India is Israel’s largest weapons market and procures an array of sophisticated military hardware such as missiles, sensors, radars, drones and night-vision devices.
Sources in the defence establishment told ThePrint that Israel has formally informed that despite the conflict, there would be no “upset” of weapons deliveries to India.
The sources also said that Israel sees a big market for arms imports in India and the war has opened up opportunities for both countries to collaborate.
“Given the ongoing violence between Israel and Gaza, this could be an opportunity for India to set up manufacturing of equipment in the country with Israeli know-how. This will prove to be a cost-effective solution for both the countries if they decide to cooperate on those lines,” a source said.
India has placed orders for Spike-LR (Long Range) Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) from Israel as part of emergency procurements since 2020 besides several other equipment. India also operates radars such as MF-Star. which are fitted on board several navy ships.
Among small arms, Indian defence and paramilitary forces use the Negev light machine guns (LMG), Tavor assault rifles and Galil snipers.
India is also one of the largest users of Israeli drones including the Herons, Harpy and Searcher Mk-II. Israeli Spice 2000 bombs were used by the Indian fighter jets during the Balakot airstrike in 2019, besides a host of other weapons and radars.
The defence cooperation took off during the Kargil war in 1999, when Israel provided India with laser-guided missiles for its fighter jets, apart from mortar ammunition. Between 2018 and 2022, India was Israel’s largest arms market, accounting for 37 percent of Israel’s arms exports, as per the latest SIPRI data published in March 2023.
Israel has been a close defence and security partner for India. Several Israeli components and technical know-how is used in some of the weapon systems being manufactured by India.
(Edited by Tony Rai)