In recent years, the government of Narendra Modi has been trying to build up India’s own defense industry, so that the country can become less reliant on imports. While it may seem counterintuitive, this move will only enhance the already robust cooperation between New Delhi and Jerusalem in the area of military technology, since Israeli companies can help India learn to make advanced equipment by itself. Moreover, the two can work together to develop new technology. Such collaboration is part and parcel of the growing bond between the two nations, writes Alvite Ningthoujam:
For the last good five years, India has remained the second largest importer of arms in the world. . . . As it is, Israel’s share in India’s defense market began to increase significantly from 2014 on. During the period past five years, India’s arms imports from Israel increased by 175 percent, making the latter New Delhi’s second largest supplier of major arms.
It is evident, [however] that the growing strategic partnership between India and Israel increasingly involves long-term co-development and defense-production programs as well as technical support. These aspects are crucial from the standpoint of India’s current military-modernization initiatives and the drive for localized production of armaments. Both countries consider the collaboration between Indian and Israeli defense firms on sophisticated defense technologies to be a success.
The strengthening of ties in this specific domain has come at this juncture when the two countries are facing both traditional and non-traditional security threats. Increasing demand for defense items due to these emerging security challenges, the quest for technological advancement in defense industries, and Israel’s readiness to meet some of the requirements of India, will lead to further expansion of defense cooperation. As Israel continues to design and develop a wide range of state-of-the-art weapons systems, it will remain an important source of defense equipment and technology for India. And Israel’s technological expertise is sure to be a key source in India’s drive to develop a self-reliant defense industry.