New Delhi: Landmark deal between India and Israel for joint developmet of medium range air to surface missile (MRSAM) for the Indian army will pave way for further joint defence production between the two countries. This will be the land based version of the long range surface to air Barak missile (LRSAM) of the Indian Navy, again jointly developed.
India’s Defence Research and Development Oraganisation (DRD) and Israel Aircraft Industry (IAI) will jointly develop an over 70 km range missile. The deal for the missile is worth over Rs.17,000 crore. Israel has emerged as one of the biggest weapon exporter to India. Russia and USA are the two other major weapon suppliers to India.
The MRSAM will also be based on the Israeli Barak missile system and it will be for five regiments of the army. The project will enhance involvement of the indigenous contents in the missiles. Around 80 per cent indigenous content will be part of the missile which will be manufactured in India. The homing system of the missile will be developed by DRDO and the delivery of the missile will begin by 2022.
This week only the cabinet committee on security chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given clearance to the deal. According to sources 40 firing units and about 200 missiles will be developed under the deal. Prime Minister Modi is expected to visit Israel. India and Israel established diplomatic relations 25 years ago.
Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin had visited India in November last year and the leadership of both countries had decided to broaden base for defence partnership in coming years. Israel has been actively providing solutions to various defence needs of the Indian armed forces.
Israel is also cooperating in India’s aerospace and missile programmes. It recently had expressed intent of relaxing some defence export regulations to facilitate joint development and production of defence systems with friendly countries like India.