India has quietly lifted a ban on Israeli Military Industries (IMI), paving the way for negotiating new defense projects with the Israeli company, a Defence Ministry source said to defensenews.
The Indian MOD has not publicly announced the lifting of the ban, imposed in 2009, but communicated its decision to IMI in September, the source said. No Indian MOD official would confirm the lifting of the ban, nor would any diplomat of the Israeli Embassy comment. IMI officials in Israel declined to comment on the report.
The former Indian United Progressive Alliance government imposed the ban after alleged corruption charges, but India’s anti-fraud agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), could not prove the charges against IMI, the source added.
Due to amid charges of alleged corruption, the Indian MOD canceled the $350 million tender IMI had won to manufacture a bi-modular charge system for 155mm guns to be built by the OFB. However, the blacklisting of IMI led to a shortage of ammunition for the 155mm guns, forcing India to relay solely on Russian manufacturers.
With the ban removed, the Indian MOD intends to explore new defense projects with the Israeli company, the Indian MOD source said. These could include partnership in the design and development of the proposed homemade future main battle tank and setting up a facility to jointly manufacture a variety of ammunition, especially for 155mm guns, the source said.
The future tank brand of India is the Arjun Mk-II. In the project participate a few Israeli companies including Elbit Systems, IAI and IMI. According to idpsentinel website, the tank should include IMI's active protection system designated "Iron Fist".