Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photo: AFP

India has long had close defense ties to Israel, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit hopes to expand the relationship beyond the purchase of arms.

For that reason, according to senior officials, the coming round of Israeli arms sales to India are expected to be completed before Modi leaves for the state visit in June or July.

Bloomberg reports the deals for Spike anti-tank missiles and Barak-8 air defense missiles are worth US$1.5 billion, with delivery of the 8,000 projectiles expected two years after the signing.

Observers see the upcoming visit as something of a coming out party for India-Israel ties, which have traditionally been strong but not highly publicized, and primarily focused on defense. Brookings India foreign policy fellow Dhruva Jaishankar was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that “we can expect a continuing of cooperation between India and Israel, not just on defense, but homeland security, pharmaceuticals, information technology, agriculture, and tourism.”