India, Israel Agree to Co-Develop Military UAVs, Missiles as Next Stage of Defence Cooperation
India has been one of Israel's prime buyers of military hardware for years. The two countries have collaborated on various joint-development projects, including missiles.
India and Israel on Thursday agreed to deepen their defence cooperation in the future with the focus on co-development and co-production of military equipment, primarily in the field of UAVs and defensive capabilities.
Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who held extensive talks with his counterpart Benjamin Gantz in New Delhi, announced the adoption of a "vision statement", marking the 30 years of diplomatic relations.
"Ministers declared their intention to further develop defence cooperation between the countries in a manner that harnesses Israel's technological advance and operational experience, together with India's extraordinary development and production capabilities", the Israeli Defence Ministry said.
The statement further added that the two ministers had discussed partnerships within a government-to-government framework, military training, and technological cooperation.
"India and Israel share similar and common challenges, including border security and fighting terrorism. By working together, we may increase our capabilities and ensure the security and economic interests of both countries", Gantz said.
The Indian side, however, said global and regional scenarios were also discussed, appearing to indicate Ukraine and India's border issues with China came up during the bilateral talks.
Last October, state-owned defence research and development organisations of the two countries signed a bilateral agreement, allowing start-ups to work together on tech such as small unmanned aircraft and artificial intelligence.
Israel has supplied India with weapons and ammunition, including Spike anti-tank guided missiles and combat drones, in recent years.
The two countries have also jointly developed medium-range surface-to-air missiles for the Indian Armed Forces.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Israel is India's fourth-largest arms supplier, following Russia, the US, and France, exporting arms worth $2.7 billion to the country between 2011 and 2020.
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