India, which tested an indigenously-built ballistic missile Aug. 29, is holding talks with Israel about joint production of a long-range missile, the country’s chief military scientist announced Aug. 31.
“Wherever they have strengths, we want to jointly develop the missiles so that both countries can benefit and share designs, costs and risks,” V.K. Atre told reporters in Hyderabad, the hub of India’s missile-building facilities.
Atre did not elaborate on the system, which India hopes to build jointly with Israel. He said talks are being held between India’s Defence Research and Development organization and its state-owned Israeli counterpart.
Atre denied that Israel already was helping India to build guided missiles and said defense cooperation was confined to research and the development of sensors and fiber-optic gyroscopes for the military.
India, which treated Israel like a pariah for decades, has in recent years forged close military links. It is acquiring two Phalcon Airborne Early Warning Systems from the Jewish state at a cost of $1 billion.
On Aug. 29, India successfully tested its medium-range Agni-II (Fire) missile, which has a maximum range of 2,500 kilometers (1,560 miles) and can carry a one-ton nuclear warhead.
India is also planning to test its Agni-III missile which has a range exceeding 3,000 kilometers but has not announced a date, reportedly due to pressure from the United States to delay the test.
The Indian army has already armed itself with Agni-I missiles, which have a range of 700 kilometers.
India and Pakistan held nuclear tests within two weeks of each other in 1998. Since then they twice came close to war in their dispute over Kashmir but relations been recently been improving.