Jerusalem, Dec 20. (UNI): Israel has offered to take on lease the pilotless target aircraft (PTA), Lakshya, from India for a few years, according to defence sources.
The offer has led to resentment in Indian defence circles who have repeatedly reminded Israel of its commitment to buy the PTA way back in 2001.
Israel was favourably impressed after studying technical details and the cost of the Aircraft, the source said, but as negotiations went ahead it slowly “lost interest”, citing no specific reason.
The matter is said to have been raised again during the visit of a high level technical team headed by the Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister, Dr V K Aatre, towards the end of last month.
The Israeli side seems to be quite aware of the Indian uneasiness. Reserves General Joseph Ben-Chanan, Director of Assistance and Defence Exports in the Israeli Ministry of Defence (Sibat), addressing a defence delegation from India in Tel Aviv last month, applauded the expertise acquired by the Indian defence industries and based on “personal experience” emphasised, “Export alone cannot survive, it has to be cooperation”.
The Indian defence delegation led by Chairman of CII’s National Committee on Defence, Atul Kirloskar, and representatives of leading Indian defence companies tried to impress upon Israeli companies to look towards India for outsourcing to offset a bit the huge imbalance in arms transaction between the two countries.