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Israel Sells Spy Planes to India - 2004-02-29

Israel's Security Cabinet has approved the sale of three spy planes to India for $1.1 billion. The U.S. administration, which originally opposed the sale, has now given its backing to the deal.

The sale is for three Phalcons. These aircraft consist of Israeli-made sophisticated surveillance equipment mounted on Russian-built cargo planes.

India wants the aircraft to detect planned enemy attacks and to assist its own military aircraft to carry out missions.

Israel has become an important arms supplier to India in recent years, as ties between the countries have strengthened.

The U.S. administration first opposed negotiations over the deal, citing increased tensions between India and Pakistan. But Washington has since dropped its objections.

Israel canceled a similar sale to China, following pressure from the United States, which feared the spy planes would give Beijing a strategic advantage over Taiwan.