At the conclusion of last week, media revelations emerged that India is buying bunker busters from Israel.
According to reports, the Indian Air Force (IAF) signed a $43 million deal last Thursday to procure several of the advanced SPICE-2000 system produced by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
SPICE, which stands for Smart, Precise Impact, Cost-Effective, is in fact not a bomb per se (as reported incorrectly by some outlets) but rather a guidance system for converting unguided bombs into precision-guided weapons. SPICE combines satellite guidance with electro-optical guidance to produce an extremely-high-precision bomb.
Another feature of the system is its ability to convert an explosive into a stand-off bomb, meaning an ordnance that penetrates a structure from above and explodes only once inside the building.
And here probably lies the reason why India is buying bunker busters from Israel.
Back in February during the most recent flare up in Indo-Pakistani tensions, India launched an airstrike against a madrasa in the eastern Pakistani province of Balakot. India claimed that the Islamic school was in fact a militant base, and bombed the site in a preemptive attack meant to prevent a planned attack on their territory. While New Delhi claimed the attack was a success, Pakistan denied any damage had occurred. Islamabad even invited several international journalists to observe the alleged site, all of whom confirmed that no signs of an attack were visible. It seems that India’s air force simply missed its target and that the bombs fell in a nearby forest. In all, the episode ended in a major embarrassment for India, with the Pakistani retaliation resulting in a downed Indian fighter.
While the uptick in tensions has calmed down over the last three months, it seems that India has not quite let go of its intent to target Pakistani sites. The next round between New Delhi and Islamabad may soon be coming.