Israel Aerospace wins $777 mln India contract for missile defense

Israel is also emerging as one of India’s biggest suppliers of weapons. (File/AFP)
Updated 24 October 2018
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Israel Aerospace wins $777 mln India contract for missile defense

  • The contract is with India’s state-owned Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL), which is the main contractor in the project
  • Israel is also emerging as one of India’s biggest suppliers of weapons

TEL AVIV: State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has won an additional, $777 million contract to supply LRSAM air and missile defense systems to seven ships in the Indian navy, the company said on Wednesday.
The contract is with India’s state-owned Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL), which is the main contractor in the project, IAI said.
The LRSAM, part of the Barak 8 family, is an air and missile defense system used by Israel’s navy as well as India’s navy, air and land forces.
With this deal, sales of the Barak 8 over the past few years total over $6 billion, IAI said.
“IAI’s partnership with India dates many years back and has culminated in joint system development and production,” IAI Chief Executive Officer Nimrod Sheffer said. “India is a major market for IAI and we plan to ... reinforce our positioning in India, also in view of increasing competition.”
Israel’s and India’s leaders have pledged to deepen ties and the countries have been increasing cooperation in fields like agriculture and advanced technologies. Israel is also emerging as one of India’s biggest suppliers of weapons, alongside the United States and long-term partner Russia.
Last year, IAI struck a deal worth almost $2 billion to supply India’s army and navy with missile defense systems. This was followed by a $630 million contract with BEL to supply Barak 8 surface-to-air missile systems for four ships in the Indian navy.
The Barak 8 was developed by IAI in collaboration with Israel’s Defense Ministry, India’s Defense Research and Development Organization, the navies of both countries, Israel’s Rafael and local industries in India and Israel.


Taliban to quit peace talks if US troops are not pulled out of Afghanistan

Updated 52 min 4 sec ago
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Taliban to quit peace talks if US troops are not pulled out of Afghanistan

  • The threat came as US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Kabul to brief the government and politicians on his engagement in the region regarding the peace process
  • Khalilzad is meeting President Ashraf Ghani, CEO Abdullah, and political leaders to discuss the next steps in efforts to support and facilitate an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process

KABUL: The Taliban said on Tuesday they would call off peace talks with the US if its troops were not pulled out of Afghanistan. The threat came as the US special envoy landed in Kabul.

Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Kabul to brief the government and politicians on his engagement in the region regarding the peace process.

Last month, it was reported that President Donald Trump had ordered the withdrawal of thousands of troops. 

But there has been speculation the US wants to keep some military bases in Afghanistan, and that it is pushing the Taliban to hold direct talks with Kabul.

The Taliban has objected to government involvement in its meetings with Khalilzad and wants foreign troops to leave Afghanistan.

The armed group said the US must pursue the peace talks with “sincere intentions” or it would be forced to stall all talks and negotiations until its “unlawful pressures and maneuvering” ended. 

“The United States agreed during the Doha meeting in November to discuss the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and prevent Afghanistan from being used against other countries in the upcoming meeting,” the Taliban said, accusing the US of “backing out from that agenda and unilaterally adding new subjects.”

The US Embassy in Kabul said Khalilzad was meeting President Ashraf Ghani, CEO Abdullah, and political leaders to discuss the next steps in efforts to support and facilitate an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

His arrival in Kabul followed stops in India, the UAE and China.

Mohammad Akbari, one of those at the meeting, said Khalilzad had expressed optimism about his efforts and regional cooperation but had not revealed why he was so hopeful.

Khalilzad later tweeted about the “good session” in Kabul.

“We discussed the peace process & all agree that progress depends on Afghans sitting with each other, negotiating a future for all Afghan people,” he said.

The US Embassy said the goal was to promote dialogue among Afghans about how to end the conflict, and to encourage parties to come together at the negotiating table to reach a political settlement in which every Afghan citizen “enjoyed equal rights and responsibilities under the rule of law.” 

Ahmad Zia Rafat, a political science professor, said peace talks in a normal country faced ups and downs but there would be more hurdles when it came to Afghanistan because of the war’s complexity. 

“We had 40 years of war so one should not expect a quick resolution of the crisis. The first priority for peace is for Afghanistan and Pakistan to settle their historical differences,” he told Arab News.

“If you have consensus in a realistic manner between these two countries, then you are depriving the Taliban from a key supporter, long believed to be Pakistan. Then you can forge consensus in the region and reintegrate the Taliban in the political mainstream.”