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Israeli Spy Plane Deal with India Nears Completion - 2003-12-26

Israeli officials have flown to India to complete the sale of sophisticated spy planes to India. The arms deal, one of the largest ever made by Israel, is worth more than $1 billion.

Israeli officials say India will buy three Israeli-made Phalcon airborne early warning systems.

The Phalcon consists of sophisticated Israeli-made radar mounted on a Russian-built cargo plane.

The radar will enable India to have long-range identification of targets and weapons inside Pakistan.

An Israeli defense ministry spokeswoman says that the director-general of the department, Amos Yaron, has arrived in India to finalize the details.

The spokeswoman says that India would likely pay $1.1 billion for the systems.

Israel has reportedly received the backing of the U.S. government for the sale. The United States, at first, opposed the deal on the grounds that it might increase tensions between India and Pakistan.

The U.S. administration has intervened in recent years to prevent Israel from selling the Phalcon to China, fearing that it would give Beijing a military edge over Taiwan.