India, Israel To Strengthen Defence Cooperation

| Updated: 02 June, 2022 1:09 pm IST
Israel’s Defence Minister Benjamin Gantz met Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi.

NEW DELHI: Marking three decades of diplomatic ties between the two countries and amid rising cooperation, especially in the field of defence, Israel’s Defence Minister Benjamin Gantz on Thursday met Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi.

Gantz is accompanied by Senior Defence officers, including the Chief of Defence Staff.

Later in the evening, Gantz will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discuss bilateral issues including defence cooperation. The two sides will also ink a special security declaration.

In recent years, India and Israel increased their defence cooperation with the former relying on the West Asian nation for the air, radar and missile defence systems.

According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Israel is India’s fourth-largest arms supplier. Israel supplied arms worth USD 2.7 billion to India between 2011 and 2020.

Gantz also paid homage at the National War Memorial in New Delhi. “I am humbled to begin my visit to India by honoring fallen troops and learning about the legacy of this nation at the @salute2soldier National War Memorial. This is a symbolic tribute as we prepare to mark 30 years of flourishing relations and defense ties between our countries (sic),” Gantz tweeted. “It is a symbolic tribute as we mark 30 years of rich ties and defense ties between our countries (sic),” he said further.

“I am currently taking off for a visit to India to mark the 30th anniversary of the security cooperation between the countries. During the visit I will meet with the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and the Minister of Defense of India Rajnat Singh, with whom I will discuss a series of security cooperation issues (sic),” Defence Minister Benny Gantz said earlier in a tweet.

During their first meeting at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in October, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended an invitation to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for coming to India. PM Modi’s 2017 visit was reciprocated by the visit of then Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018.

India, Israel, UAE and the US are also part of what is called the New Quad, which aims for regional cooperation.

India-Israel’s defence cooperation goes back a long way with India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru requesting his Israeli counterpart David Ben-Gurion for military support when India fought a war against China in 1962. Later again in 1965, India received M-58 160-mm mortar ammunition from Israel during the war against Pakistan.

India procured a Barak surface-to-air missile system with the Vertical Launching System (VLS) module for modernising the Indian Navy from 2003-to 2006.

In addition to defence, Israel and India strengthened cooperation in the areas of economics, agriculture and technology.

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