India buys radar systems from Israel

India and Israel agreed their biggest ever weapons deal on Friday, with New Delhi signing up to buy strategic airborne radar systems which it hopes will boost its military edge over nuclear neighbour Pakistan.

    Sharon's visit sparked controversy amongst the country's Muslims

    The Israeli-made Phalcon radars will be mounted on Russian IL-76 aircraft in a deal estimated to be more than $1 billion.

    “A tripartite agreement was signed this morning at the defence ministry involving Israeli and Russian representatives for the acquisition of AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) and mounting of these,” an Indian Defence Ministry
    spokesman who declined to be named told Reuters.

    Pakistan has repeatedly expressed concern at growing India-Israel defence ties and said the introduction of advanced systems such as the AWACS could lead to an escalation of the arms race between the nuclear powers.

    Diplomatic relations

    The countries have recently restored diplomatic relations after they came close to war last year over the disputed state of Kashmir.

    New Delhi plans to buy three Phalcon systems which officials and experts say will put large parts of Pakistan under its surveillance, including the unstable border in Kashmir.

    Last month, India and Israel said they planned to boost defence ties during a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

    India also wants to buy anti-ballistic Arrow missiles from Israel but this has yet to be cleared by the United States which funded the research and development.
       
    Washington persuaded Israel last year to delay the transfer of the Phalcon because of India's stand-off with Pakistan.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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