Indian naval ships are all set to get additional ammo, with the Defence Ministry approving the purchase of Barak surface-to-air missiles at a cost of approximately Rs.500 crore. The missiles will arm Indian naval warships, deterring any attacks from enemies.
India will purchase 100 such missiles from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Limited, an Israeli firm headquartered in Haifa, Israel. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the highest decision making body for capital acquisition cleared the proposal to purchase these missiles, with defence minister Arun Jaitley chairing the meeting.
This is the first deal passed by Arun Jaitley after taking over the additional responsibility of the defence ministry on March 13.
Barak-I missiles have been used by the Navy since 1999. They have a range of 7-km and can be used to protect India’s warships from aerial attacks.
In addition to the Barak missiles, the DAC also cleared the purchase of Bathythermograph Systems from the United States and additional equipment to counter underwater mines. The thermograph systems will help the navy identify enemy submarines by determining the range of sonars at different depths. India will purchase these essentials under the “buy global” category at an approximate cost of Rs.311 crore.
The move to purchase the Barak missiles comes at a crucial time, with prime minister Narendra Modi expected to visit Israel in July. This would be the first time an Indian Prime Minister visited Israel since the establishment of bilateral relationships between the two nations in 1992.
Israel is one of the top supplier of arms to India, accounting for sales around $1 billion each year. Russia and the United States of America are the other major supplier of arms, making India the largest importer of arms in the world.