In a move that underscores the commitment to bolster India’s defence capabilities and align with the country’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’ policies, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU). 

This MoU paves the way for enhanced co-operation between the two aerospace businesses following a history of joint endeavours. The agreement, signed by Mr K V Suresh Kumar, director (marketing) of BEL, and Mr Avi Elisha, VP and general manager of missile systems division at IAI, aims to address India’s requirements in the domain of short-range air defence systems.

The signing ceremony, held in the presence of Mr Bhanu Prakash Srivastava, CMD of BEL, occurred in Bengaluru yesterday. Mr Srivastava expressed BEL’s deep regard for IAI as a key strategic partner.

He also highlighted that the MoU signifies a major development. “This MoU is envisaged to boost the cooperation between the two companies in the field of short-range air defence systems. It will empower the Indian industry to make significant contributions towards equipping our forces with state-of-the-art short-range air defence systems.” 

IAI’s President and CEO, Mr Boaz Levy, emphasised the successful partnership between BEL and IAI in the field of Air Defence in India. “BEL and IAI have a successful partnership in the field of Air Defence in India. 

Together, we are providing the Indian Armed Forces with high-end Air Defence capabilities that meet their high-end operational requirements on one hand and ‘Make in India’ requirements on the other. Hence, it is only natural that we expand this cooperation to the short-range air defence domain.”

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Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have tried to have a more significant strategic presence in the Indian defence market this year, as shown by Indian-based Sagar Defence Engineering signing an MoU with Israel Aerospace Industries to develop autonomous weaponised boat swarms for the Indian Navy and IAI acquiring HELA Systems, an Indian radar and electronic warfare systems provider.

Tristan Sauer, aerospace, defence, and security analyst at GlobalData, commented on what contributions Bharat Electronics Limited can make to cooperating short-range air defence system projects. “As one of India’s largest state-owned defence firms, BEL has access to significant industrial capacity, domestic talent and political support within the burgeoning Indian defence sector. 

As with all recent international defence procurement agreements, India will be keen to domesticate various elements of the SHORAD supply chain to expand domestic expertise and infrastructure. BEL will thus facilitate IAI’s expansion in-country by facilitating future R&D and procurement decisions due to the inherent mutual benefits of this collaborative arrangement.”

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) entered into a strategic partnership agreement with Indian defence firms Elcom Systems Private Limited and Dynamatic Technologies Ltd (DTL) to transfer UAV technology and enable the domestic production of the UAV in India, according to GlobalData’s “India Defense Market 2023-2028” report.