NEW DELHI: Despite the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, the defence cooperation between India and Israel will remain unaffected. Israel has formally assured India that their defence supplies will continue without disruption. India is the largest market for Israeli weapons and procures a wide range of advanced military hardware, including missiles, sensors, radars, drones, and night-vision devices.
Largest arms market
The defence collaboration between India and Israel gained momentum during the Kargil war in 1999 when Israel provided India with laser-guided missiles and mortar ammunition for its fighter jets. Between 2018 and 2022, India was Israel’s largest arms market, accounting for 37 per cent of Israel’s arms exports, according to SIPRI data published in March 2023.
According to MOD sources, Israel has communicated its commitment to maintaining the supply of defence equipment to India, emphasising the importance of their strategic defence relationship.
Despite the conflict, both countries view the current situation as an opportunity to further collaborate in the defence sector. One potential avenue for cooperation is the establishment of domestic manufacturing facilities in India, utilising Israeli expertise. This approach could offer cost-effective solutions for both nations.
Anti-Tank Guided Missiles
India has previously placed orders for Spike-LR (Long Range) AntiTank Guided Missiles (ATGM) from Israel as part of its emergency procurement efforts. Additionally, India employs Israeli radars, such as the MF-Star, on several navy ships. Indian defence and paramilitary forces also use Israeli small arms, including Negev light machine guns (LMG), Tavor assault rifles, and Galil snipers.
Israel has been a key supplier of drones to India, including the Herons, Harpy, and Searcher Mk-II. Israeli-made Spice 2000 bombs were used by Indian fighter jets during the Balakot airstrike in 2019, highlighting the effectiveness of Israeli weaponry.