Diplomacy

DM Ya’alon Highest-Level Israeli Official To Visit India As Defense Ties Expand

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon met with Indian Prime Minister Narendrea Modi today in New Delhi in what The Times of Israel described as marking “the end of an era when defense deals between the allies had to be kept hush-hush.”

Ya’alon’s visit, the highest-level official visit since the countries established ties in 1992, marked another major step in the development of bilateral relations between New Delhi and Jerusalem, which has been linked in recent years to growing defense ties.

Ya’alon and Modi discussed matters of national security during a meeting in Delhi, according to Indian news site ANI. …

The two also spoke briefly the day before at the Israel pavilion at a major defense exposition in Bangaluru, where Modi is pushing more domestic arms production.

Ya’alon’s visit to India and the expo, which according to the Times “is expected to result in defense deals worth billions,” are signs of closer ties between Israel and India.

In September, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Modi in New York, where they discussed increasing their bilateral partnership. The next month, Israel and India concluded a long-delayed missile deal. India subsequently chose to purchase an Israeli anti-tank missile system, picking it over a competing American system. In November, India and Israel jointly tested a surface to air missile successfully. In December, India announced that it was reconsidering its automatic support of the Palestinians at the United Nations.

Commercial ties between Israel and India have grown to more than $6 billion in 2013 and political ties have been improving since the election of Modi last May.

[Photo: ANI News / YouTube ]