Israel-India Phalcon deal in January
* Russia delivers 12 more Sukhoi fighter jets to India
JERUSALEM: A billion-dollar Israel-India arms deal is to be finalised in January, an Israeli Defence Ministry spokeswoman said on Friday.
In October, the two countries signed a deal in which India would purchase the Israeli-made PHALCON airborne early warning systems, but the exact price was not agreed on. Israeli Defence Ministry Director Amos Yaron is in India to seal the deal, ministry spokeswoman Rachel Niedak-Ashkenazi said on Thursday. “The deal is about to be finalised,” she said, adding that India would likely pay US $1.1 billion for three of the systems.
Israel and India have grown closer in recent years, and Israel has become an important arms supplier to India. However, Niedak-Ashkenazi said that Yaron’s visit was intended solely to complete the PHALCON deal. “This is the only agreement,” she said.
India wants to strengthen its defences by acquiring the airborne warning and control systems that can detect aerial threats and serve as a platform to direct combat planes to targets.
Pakistan, however, has criticised what it called India’s weapons shopping spree as dangerous for the subcontinent, where the two major powers have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947.
Last year, US officials pressed Israel to postpone the sale, citing increased tensions between India and Pakistan, but later withdrew its objections.
There is no US-made equipment in the system, which consists of a long-range radar mounted on a Russian-made plane. However, Israel coordinates its sales with Washington, its main ally.
Meanwhile, Russia has delivered another 12 Sukhoi 30 MK1 fighters to India, bringing to 22 the total number of the multi-role combat planes in the Indian Air Force.
With the delivery of the latest batch to the Indian Air Force by Russia’s Irkut Aircraft Corporation, India now has 22 Sukhoi Su-30 MK1 fighters with the capability of attacking land and sea targets.
India has received 22 multi-mission fighter jets, including 8 Su-30K jets of the older configuration under an agreement signed in November 1996. —Agencies