India seems to be boosting its missile defence capabilities on an unprecedented scale. Recently, India signed the US $ 5 billion S-400 air defense system deal with Russia that was taken as a major boost to India’s defence capabilities. The S-400 air defense system is a highly sophisticated and robust system, being a large complex of radars, control systems and different types of missiles. Its radar can pick up incoming objects in its range which extends to a massive 1,000 km, track several incoming targets simultaneously and launch appropriate missiles for such targets on its own. It has a high success rate to go with such high standards of efficiency and automation. It can engage up to a mind boggling 36 targets at a time and simultaneously launch 72 missiles.
Now, in yet another major step in the ongoing modernisation programme Israel is set to supply missile defence systems to India for $ 777 million. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced that it has bagged a contract from India for the supply of long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) defence systems to the Indian Navy. The system to be supplied by Israel, which is considered a major Indian ally especially in the defence sector, is the naval version of the anti-missile defence system Barak 8. The Israeli company stated that the contract was entered into with the Indian state owned company Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) which serves as the main contractor in the project. Reportedly, seven Indian naval warships are going to be equipped with the said defence system.
This is being considered as a major shot in the arm as far as the capabilities of the Indian Navy is concerned. Commodore C Uday Bhaskar (retd), director, Society for Policy Studies commented, “This particular capability, the LRSAM, will enhance the credibility of the Indian Navy by way of its trans-border military index…both in terms of range and precision.” As per reports, Indian Navy officials are with the opinion that this deal will enhance the Navy’s anti-air warfare capabilities. Israel is one of the major military giants across the world. Its defence systems are battle tested and is among the best in the world. Its systems are not only theoretically and technically sound and effective but have emerged out of practical necessity and are thus some of the most effective and lethal systems across the globe. Therefore, it is certain that the system in question will prove to be very handy for the Indian Navy in times of need. This deal is therefore bound to bolster the Indian Navy’s capabilities in a big way. It is also going to help India in commanding greater respect in the Indian Ocean region.
India and Israel share warm and close relations especially in the defence sector. Israel is the fourth largest weapons supplier to India after US, Russia and France. This explains the importance of Indo-Israel relations. Israel has itself been battling regional conflicts and its battle tested arms and defence systems can thus turn out to be very handy for India. This $ 777 million missile defence system for the Indian Navy is not the only deal on cards. The Indian military’s capability to take down hostile aircraft and missiles, for instance got a huge boost, last April when India and Israel signed deals worth $2 billion for advanced surface-to-air missile systems. IAI is now providing the Indian Army with advanced medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) systems. This was the largest contract in the history of Israel’s defence industry. In 2017, it had been reported that the Israeli companies led by IAI had signed arms deals with India totaling over $2.6 billion in that year.
With this, it is clear that the Modi government is on a strenuous campaign to modernise India’s defence capabilities and systems. In view of India’s strategic needs, the government is leaving no stone unturned in bolstering India’s defence capabilities.