Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to come to India on an official visit within two weeks. Netanyahu will visit India for a day just a week before Israel goes to repeat polls after he failed to form a government following the April 9 elections.
The Israeli PM will meet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi where the two leaders are expected to discuss issues including the acquisition of two more Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), extended range air to air Derby missiles by the Indian Air Force and joint projects in agriculture, water, and waste management.
Apart from Military discussions, Netanyahu is expected to extend his support to the Indian government's abrogation of articles 370 and 35A in Kashmir, as an internal matter and support the bilateral resolution of issues between India and Pakistan. Citing Top diplomats, Hindustan Times reported that before his arrival an advanced security liaison team from Israel will come to Delhi on September 2 to prepare grounds. However, the date of Netanyahu's arrival is yet to be finalised but he is expected to come either on September 7 or 8.
Political pundits have argued saying that Netanyahu's meeting with PM Modi is more symbolic in nature to enhance his image before the general election. Earlier this year in July, Netanyahu became the longest-serving Israeli prime minister, surpassing Israel's first premier David Ben-Gurion. Notably, his ruling Lukid party is facing a tough challenge with flagging fortunes. Personally, also the Israeli PM is fighting for personal survival ahead of a hearing before the state prosecution on several graft cases.
Indian is planning to buy $2 billion worth two PHALCON AWACS mounted on Russian A-50 platform for better surveillance in the air. The order is yet to be approved from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). India has five AWACS platforms in comparison to Pakistan, which already has seven in its armada. Moreover, Pakistan has ordered three more from China. Pakistan is already operating three SAAB Erieye and four ZDK-03 from China, which were airborne 24X7 after the Balakot airstrike by the Indian Air Force on JeM camps. On the other hand, IAF deployed AWACS for only 12 hours period.
Apart from acquiring two AWACS, India also plans to buy extended range Derby air-to-air missiles from Israel. IAF wants to further upgrade Su-30 MKI with integrating the 70-kilometre range Derby missiles on its platform with the latest radar equipped with a data link to engage with Pakistani F-16s in future.