India, Israel take defence ties to future level

This is the second most important step after France agreed to manufacture a military aircraft engine in India.
India's Defense Minister Rajnath Singh (Photo | AP)
India's Defense Minister Rajnath Singh (Photo | AP)

NEW DELHI: In a push to India’s efforts to acquire cutting-edge technology in the defence sector,
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Gantz on Saturday exchanged a Letter of Intent, making R&D the key focus. This is the second most important step after France agreed to manufacture a military aircraft engine in India.

The Ministry of Defence said the two sides discussed ways to increase cooperation in all domains with focus on research and development in future technologies as well as defence co-production. “With the intention to further strengthen the existing framework of the Indo-Israeli defence cooperation architecture, both sides adopted the India-Israel Vision on Defence Cooperation.

A Letter of Intent on enhancing cooperation in the field of futuristic defence technologies was also exchanged between the two Ministers,” MoD said. In December, Rajnath Singh had announced that the French had agreed to the indigenous manufacturing of an engine, which is not being made in India, in collaboration with an Indian company under a strategic partnership.

The Indo-French strategic partnership involves co-production aimed at creating a defence-industrial ecosystem. Engine manufacturing involves complex metallurgy and is acknowledged as the weakest link in India’s ‘Make in India’ drive. For instance, India’s Kaveri engine programme has been hitting roadblocks.

Even in the case of submarines, India has been facing problems. India’s indigenous nuclear submarine has been designed with major support from Russia. Similarly, the Naval Group of France helped Project 75 India, under which six conventional submarines have been manufactured in Mumbai.

“Firstly, nobody gives you the high-end tech as they have invested billions in it. Even if they get ready to part with it, it’s not going to come cheap and that too when they know that India needs it,” says Defence Analyst Commodore Anil Jai Singh (rtd).

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