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April 13, 2017 11:53 am

India Reportedly Inks Two New Defense Deals With Israel Ahead of Modi Visit

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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, in September 2014. Photo: Avi Ohayon / GPO via Flickr. – In advance of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Israel in July — the first such visit by a holder of his office — India is on the verge of signing two new defense deals with the Jewish state, according to reports.

The deals, due to be finalized in the coming months, are slated to be worth upwards of $1.5 billion and will include Spike anti-tank missiles and Barak-8 air defense missiles.

Reports of the new defense deals follow recent announcements that Israel Aerospace Industries had signed contracts amounting to $2 billion with India — marking the largest arms deal in the history of Israel’s defense sector.

The new defense deals are purportedly part of the Indian leader’s $250-billion plan to revolutionize his country’s armed forces by 2025, as tensions simmer with neighboring China and Pakistan.

India is currently the world’s largest procurer of Israeli defense hardware. The deals further solidify Israeli-Indian ties ahead of Modi’s visit.

Shailesh Kumar, a senior Asia analyst at the political risk firm Eurasia Group, said, “The visit is a big milestone. Officials in both countries believe they face a common external threat — terrorism.”

Kumar added, “Working with Israel fits into Modi’s bigger pivot of deeper relations with the U.S. given the U.S.-Israel friendship.”

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