India and Israel have concluded an agreement to assemble a ballistic missile defence (BMD) system, The World Tribune quoted Indian sources as saying.
Sources said that Jerusalem and New Dehli concluded more than two years of negotiations with an agreement in principle to build a BMD system for India.
Sources said the system would be designed to protect against nuclear warheads fired from China or Pakistan.
“This system would integrate Indian and Israeli assets into a layered defense network,” a source said.
The sources said the Indian Defence Ministry agreed to the project, but the two sides were preparing for contract negotiations that could extend into late 2014.
Israel has long offered a partnership in BMD development, particularly the arrow system by Israel Aerospace Industries. Sources said New Delhi began to express strong interest only in 2013 when Israel proposed a programme that would integrate and enhance Indian air defence assets.
“The Indians were looking for Israeli expertise and technology that would allow New Delhi to eventually work on its own in BMD,” the source said. “They were not interested in an off-the-shelf arrow purchase.”
The initial agreement would partner IAI as well as Israel’s state-owned Rafael Advanced Defence Systems with India’s Defense Research and Development Organisation, Bharat Dynamics and Bharat Electronics. All of the participants are state-owned entities, and Bharat Electronics has developed the Prithvi air defence system, scheduled for deployment in 2015.
“The attractiveness of the proposal is that India could contribute any asset deemed suitable for missile defence, including radars, interceptors and launchers,” the source said. “Because the network is meant to protect against a range of threats, no existing or future Indian system could be ruled out.”