India to buy Israeli missiles
India is to buy 131 surface-to-air missiles from Israel in a $70 million deal, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 2 January ahead of a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Barak missiles, manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, are to be used for India's future aircraft carrier currently under construction.
Israel has become a major defence supplier to India, selling an average of $1 billion of military equipment each year.
In April 2017, the two countries signed a military deal worth nearly $2 billion which includes the supply over several years of medium-range surface-to-air missiles, launchers and communications technology.
It was unclear whether the deal announced on 2 January was part of that.
The MoD also said it had approved the purchase of 240 air-launched munitions from Russia's JSC Rosonboron Exports for $188 million.
The Indian MoD said: ‘This procurement will address the deficiency of precision-guided munitions in the IAF [Indian Air Force] arsenal, besides enhancing the offensive capabilities of the IAF.’
India, which has longstanding territorial disputes with neighbours China and Pakistan, has signed several big-ticket defence deals since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.
It has however been moving away from relying on traditional ally Russia for military hardware.
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