Israel, India agree to develop bilateral defense technology

India and Israel have agreed to develop bilateral technology, such as drones and artificial intelligence.

 Indian Air Force aircraft in Blue Flag exercise in Israel, 2021 (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Indian Air Force aircraft in Blue Flag exercise in Israel, 2021
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Just weeks after Israel and India agreed to identify new areas in defense cooperation, the two countries signed an agreement to develop bilateral technology such as drones, artificial intelligence and more.

The Bilateral Innovation Agreement (BIA) was signed by India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) chairman G Satheesh Reddy and Israel’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) head Danny Gold.

“Under the agreement, start-ups and industry of both countries will work together to bring out next-generation technologies and products in the areas such as drones, robotics, artificial intelligence, quantum technology, photonics, biosensing, brain-machine interface, energy storage, wearable devices, natural language processing, etc,” India’s defense ministry said in a statement.

The developments will be jointly funded by both the DRDO and DDR&D, and will be customized to “meet the unique requirements” of both countries and be available to Israel and India.

The two countries agreed two weeks ago to form a task force that will build a 10-year cooperation plan to identify new areas in defense cooperation.

India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) chairman G Satheesh Reddy and Israel’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) head Danny Gold are seen with the newly signed agreement. (credit: Indian Defense Ministry)India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) chairman G Satheesh Reddy and Israel’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) head Danny Gold are seen with the newly signed agreement. (credit: Indian Defense Ministry)

The plan, which will include defense procurement, production, and research and development, was agreed upon last week during a visit by the director-general of the Indian Defense Ministry, Ajay Kumar.

Kumar met with his Israeli counterpart, director-general of the Defense Ministry Maj.-Gen.(ret.) Amir Eshel at the Kirya Military Headquarters in Tel Aviv for the 15th meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on defense cooperation.

According to The Times of India, the two officials discussed bilateral military-technological cooperation as well as strategic challenges in the Middle East and Indo-Pacific regions.

“The two sides reviewed the progress made in military-to-military engagements, including exercises and industry cooperation,” an Indian official was quoted by the report, adding that “it was also decided to form a new sub-working group on defense industry cooperation.”

Israel has been supplying India with various weapons systems, missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles over the last few years, making India one of Israel’s largest buyers of military hardware.

A 2020 report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute found that Israel’s arms exports over the past four years have been the highest ever, accounting for 3% of the global total.

According to the report, the top three customers of Israeli arms were India (45% of the total amount), Azerbaijan (17%), and Vietnam (8.5%). Weapons sales to India have consistently totaled over $1 billion per year.