Eye in the sky: India deploys Israeli-made drones to China border
5 things you need to know about these drones.
For the past 17 months, tensions between India and China have continued to escalate along the Actual Line of Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. With thousands of troops stationed in freezing conditions in the Himalayas, the standoff is set to continue.
This week, the Indian army deployed four Israeli “Heron” drones to boost its surveillance and firepower in the region.
Here are five things you need to know about this development:
These are the Heron MK II drones, known for its long endurance and ability to fly at medium altitude. It has the capacity to fly for more than 45 hours at a dizzying height of over 35,000 feet (10km)
The drones cost $200m in a deal signed in January 2021. The drones were acquired from the Malat division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
IAI says that the standout feature of the Heron MK II “is its ability to perform Standoff Capability, gathering intelligence from tens of kilometers away without crossing borders”. But the drones aren’t merely for surveillance. They are fitted with laser guided bombs, standoff air-to-ground missiles, anti-tank guided missiles.
The Indian military currently have 108 Israeli Searcher drones and 68 unarmed Heron 1s as well as a fleet of Harpy drones - which are known to be suicide attack drones . They carry highly explosive war heads and engage in kamikaze missions. A single Harpy costs around $70,000.
In November 2021, both governments signed an agreement to jointly develop next generation technologies and products such as drones, robotics, artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
In other news
Last week, Indians marked 13 years since the horrific Mumbai Attacks that took place over three days in late November 2008. At least 166 people, including six Israelis, were killed in the attack, blamed on Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group based in Pakistan.
Every year, officials find ways to reiterate that the incident in 2008 was proof that India and Israel faced “common enemies”.
“Today, India and Israel are joining in commemorating the terror attack 13 years ago in Mumbai which targeted both Indian, Jews Israeli and international people. We are united in the fight against terrorism,” Naor Gilon, Israel’s ambassador to India, said.
Now citizens are joining in:
“The terrorists do not really have a real objective,” Isaac Solomon, a leader of the Indian-Israeli community in Eilat, said. “They have only one goal — to harm people. India and Israel are democracies that seek peace and will continue to raise their voice against the menace of terrorism anywhere in the world.”
In Israel, every major university held ceremonies to mark the anniversary.
until next time,
Thanks for reading A newsletter about India and Israel! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.