The Strategist

Why Does India Urgently Need Drones from Israel?

09/22/2015 - 15:28

India is adding the Israeli drones in its army, while Pakistan and China are building up their military power. The drones are meant to help India open a "new front" on the border with Pakistan in Kashmir. However, Pakistan has also begun to use drones in the line of confrontation, according to Reuters.

India has accelerated the implementation of the plans on purchasing Israeli  drones that can carry bombs and missiles, which allows to strike from a distance without endangering personnel.

Meanwhile, a few weeks ago, Pakistan has declared the use of own-produced drones to hit the armed groups in the country.

India and Pakistan have dragged the war over Kashmir twice. The very first India’s plans to acquire Israeli drones branded Heron were announced three years ago. However, in January, the Indian military appealed to the government to accelerate the purchase of vehicles, as Pakistan and China are developing and already use their own drones, increasing the military capabilities of these countries.

India has already placed non-assault Israeli drones on the border with China and in the mountainous regions of Kashmir to monitor the actions of the Pakistani side.

In September, the Indian Government has approved the Air Forces’ application for the purchase of ten Heron TP from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). These drones can strike at ground targets. The agreement between the two countries has to be signed soon. Overall, India intends to spend up to $ 400 million on the purchase of Israeli drones.

Border division of India and Pakistan sometimes exchange fire on the border in Kashmir, recognized de facto, but do not cross the line of ground and air control.
- It's risky. Meanwhile, drones with weapons on board can be used to suppress the rebels on the territory and beyond the borders, for precision strikes on terrorist hideouts in the mountains, - said a source in the Defense Ministry of India. Military circles in India believe that the decision on taking the Israeli Herons on board in 2016 will increase the striking power of the country’s  Air Force.

The USA made hundreds of drone strikes at the group "al-Qaeda" in Pakistan. At the same time, Pakistan does not shoot down the US drones, though occasionally complains about the deaths of civilians due to these attacks. Indian drones, on the other hand, may get in sight of Pakistani radar and be knocked down. In July, Pakistan shot down an Indian drone at the border in Kashmir, but India has not explained this event.

Now, only the US, Israel and Britain use assault drones, although more than 70 countries are armed with the weapon. As for China, the country has not announced any plans for the development of drones, yet has directed substantial resources to this area, as confirmed by the Chinese stands at international arms fairs.

Meanwhile, the AI is considering the production of drones Heron TP in India in the framework of the “Make in India” programme. However, the case stalled as the Israeli authorities did not confirm nor deny the production or use of the assault drones. IAI is one of several Israeli companies, produce unmanned aircraft and their components.

At least one of these Israeli companies has sold drones to another country (not India), said a source. Such transactions take place directly between the Government of Israel and the government of the buyer country, and the parties sign a special nondisclosure agreement.

It is not entirely clear what weapon will be used for Heron TP for India. The country is trying to develop its own drones weapons, but without much success.