India announced on Wednesday that it would build surface-to-air missiles jointly with Israel. Israel is India‘s second-largest supplier of weapons. Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony announced the project in a speech to parliament, calling the missile that will be developed "futuristic" and setting the cost of the joint project at $625 million. The minister said that India had received "a number of offers for the joint collaboration in various kinds of missiles from various countries," and that it intended to pursue some. Meanwhile, in Washington, an assistant American defense secretary told Congress that over the next two years the United States and Israel would hold "an ambitious bilateral exercise program… that will realistically test our joint capability to address ballistic missile threats." Also this month, U.S. President George W. Bush asked Congress for $44.9 million for a joint U.S.-Israel short-range ballistic missile effort called "David’s Sling" to be included in the next budget year.
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