NEW DELHI: The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has started to clear long pending defense deals with Israel, worth $3billion dollars ahead of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Israel later this year. The CCS has already cleared the deals for Spice-2000 bombs and laser-designation pods while two more Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) and four more aerostat radars and the medium-range surface-to-air missile system are soon to be cleared. Other deals include “Spike” anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) systems and 8,356 missiles from Israel.

“It should be cleared by the [committee] within a month or so,” an Indian Defense Ministry source quoted. Though, relations between India and Israel have improved since PM Modi came into power, the actual signing of contracts and defense deals has been going slow. Though, along with the United States and Russia, Israel is one of India’s top arms suppliers, with sales of about $1 billion annually, according to foreign sources.

One of the proposed deals is for Rafael’s Litening-4 navigation and targeting technology, which according to Indian sources would be installed on Russian-made Sukhoi-30MKIs fighter jets and Anglo-French Jaguars. That contract alone could be worth between $250 million and $300 million, Israeli sources stated to Haaretz.

“There have already been more than 20 meetings between the sides following disagreements in the price,” said an official from the Indian defense ministry. “The agreement will be finalized within the next month,” he continued, “and we are attempting to bridge the gaps between the two sides.”

Currently, Israeli sources said the talks are less far along than for the other deals because they involve transferring technology and production to India. India has put a high priority on technology transfer in recent years, which has encouraged IAI and Rafael to tie up with local partners. While, American defense contractors have resisted contracts involving technology transfer, opening up opportunities for Israeli companies.

A decade ago, the Indian army launched a modernization program and allocated tens of billions of dollars to it, but the modernization project is proceeding lackadaisically. The Times of India said the Army desperately needs next-generation ATGMs to equip all its 382 infantry battalions and 44 mechanized infantry units.

Meanwhile, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have both also indicated that they plan to travel to India “soon.” Between 2005 and 2014, deals with Israel accounted for 7 percent (in dollar terms) of military equipment deliveries—the third highest after Russia and the United States.

President Pranab Mukherjee recently noted, Israel has crucially come through for India at times “when India needed them the most”. But there has also been less publicly-acknowledged help in the past, including during India’s 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan.