NEW DELHI: As a part of its $2 billion defense deal of sophisticated weapons and intelligence gear, India had bought controversial Israeli-made Pegasus spyware in 2017.
According to reports, India had reportedly signed the arms deal — the first by a prime minister – during Narendra Modi’s landmark visit to the country.
The spyware, which is classified as military-grade software and produced by the Israeli firm NSO Group, was part of a “package of sophisticated weapons and intelligence gear worth roughly $2 billion” between India and Israel, stated the report ‘The Battle for the World’s Most Powerful Cyberweapon’.
Moreover, the report further mentioned that Modi’s visit came even as “India had maintained a policy” of what it called “commitment to the Palestinian cause,” and “relations with Israel were frosty.”
“The Modi visit, however, was notably cordial, complete with a carefully staged moment of him and Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu walking together barefoot on a local beach. They had a reason for the warm feelings. Their countries had agreed on the sale of a package of sophisticated weapons and intelligence gear worth roughly USD two billion — with Pegasus and a missile system as the centerpieces.”
the NSO Group had for nearly a decade been “selling its surveillance software on a subscription basis to law-enforcement and intelligence agencies around the world, promising that it could do what no one else — not a private company, not even a state intelligence service — could do: consistently and reliably crack the encrypted communications of any iPhone or Android smartphone.”