According to rumors the Indian Air Force and the Rafael Advanced Defense System (RADS) are going to sign a major contract in March 2011.
According to officials, the contract will be focused on equipping India’s Tejas fighter with the modern Derby missiles, developed by RADS. The Derby air-to-air missile will be equipped on at least 200 Tejas jets.
This is not the first time in which the IAF has signed a contract with Rafael. RADS is a former division of the Israeli Defense Ministry and is now one of the biggest government companies when it comes to the development and production of fighting technologies for both the Israel Defense Forces and export.
In 2008, the Indian Army purchased Spyder anti-aircraft missile systems from Rafael in a deal worth $270 million. In 2009 another deal between Rafael and the Indian Army was signed, when the Army bought anti-aircraft systems worth $1 billion.
According to the words of Jyotiraditya Scindia, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, the cooperation between the Israeli company and India’s army can only benefit for India as Israel’s security systems are currently one of the most advanced. Israel is currently India’s largest arms supplier as it has exported equipment worth $3 billion to the Indian Army.
Currently Israel and India are trying to set the fundaments of cooperation in other sectors as well. Renewable energy and computer science are the next areas in which the two countries on focusing on cooperating. According to officials, the leading Israeli institutions are keen on cooperating with IT specialists on exchange and collaboration of research. If this happens, this will be a huge step in the enhancing of scientific cooperation between India and Israel.
At the moment Israel is trying to win the sympathy of Indian citizens as well. The Israel Project (TIP) is a non-government and non-profit organization which focuses on improving Israel’s image in the eyes of the Indian residents and to enhance the relations between the two countries.