India, Israel ink $2bn mega weapons deal

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  • Experts ask Pakistan to strengthen defence relations with Russia, China

India will buy nearly $2 billion worth of weapons technology from Israel in what’s being described as the largest defence contract ever signed by the military exporting giant.

The deal will see state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries provide India with an advanced defence system of medium-range surface-to-air missiles, launchers and communications technology, the company said in a statement. The missile agreement is considered to be the largest defence contract in Israel’s defence industries’ history, the company said.

The Israeli firm will also supply a naval defence system including long-range surface-to-air missiles for India’s first aircraft carrier, which is still under construction. Comment was not immediately available from India’s Defence Ministry. Israel Aerospace Industries said some components will be assembled in India, in line with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to reduce reliance on costly imports.

The Indian government has raised the limit on foreign investment in the defence sector and encouraged tie-ups between local and foreign companies under a ‘Make in India’ campaign. India, the world’s largest defence importer, has been investing tens of billions in updating its Soviet-era military hardware to counter long-standing tensions with regional rivals China and Pakistan.

Talking to the Radio Pakistan, world affairs expert Dr Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema said that there was no doubt that Indian wish for regional hegemony would destabilise balance of power in the South Asian region. “India also wants Pakistan to get involved in arms race so that its economy could be disturbed,” he said.

He asked the international community to play its role to force India not to initiate arms race in the region. “But the world and super powers have their own economic interests with India,” he said. “India is also violating international laws as it’s nuclear and defence programme is not safe and secure,” he pointed out.

Expert Dr Huma Baqai said that Indian attitude towards increasing its defence capabilities has been changed in past few years. “India has hidden its defence relations with Israel in past but since Modi came into power, he is openly signing defence deals with different countries including Israel,” she said. “Pakistan has full right to improve its defence capabilities,” she said.

Expert Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal said that this two-billion dollars deal between India and Israel was a threat for regional peace and it would destabilise the equilibrium in the region. “India’s main aim is to maintain its hegemony and dominance in the region and keep other countries under pressure,” he said. “Arab countries must have to think that Indian arms deals could also be a threat for the security of Arab countries as well,” he said.

Defence analyst Haris Nawaz said that the Indian government was spending its major budget on increasing defence assets, and it would destabilise balance of power in the region. “Pakistan should also strengthen its defence relations with Russia and China,” he said, adding that Pakistan has far better missile system and defence weapons as compared to India and also has the world’s best army.


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