Mega defence deals likely during PM's trip to Israel
A raft of mega defence deals including procurement of an air defence system for the Indian Navy are likely to be sealed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming visit to Israel which will be first by an Indian PM to the Jewish nation.
Ahead of the visit, which is likely to take place in July, Israeli envoy Daniel Carmon said it will be a "big" visit, reflecting the depth of cooperation between the two countries in a range of key areas.
The much-awaited deal for Barak-8 air defence missile systems for the navy and procurement of Spike anti-tank missiles for the Indian Army are expected to be firmed up during Modi's visit to Tel Aviv.
"India, Israel relations are big enough. The visit, when it takes place, will be a very very important visit. It will be one of the most important visits that Israel has witnessed in many many years," Israeli Ambassador Daniel Carmon said.
Modi's visit coincides with the establishment of 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
A number of other defence deals are also likely to be discussed. Asked about specific defence deals, the envoy only said the relationship has gone beyond buying and selling and that the two countries are now focussing majorly on joint research and development.
"Israel has very good relations with India and the relationship has various facets including defence," he said.
People familiar with defence relations say the two multi-billion dollar acquisition deals are likely to be finalised during the PM's trip.
India is the largest buyer of Israel's military hardware and the latter has been supplying various weapon systems, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles over the last few years but the transactions have largely remained behind the curtains.
In February, India had cleared a Rs 17,000 crore deal for jointly developing with Israel a medium-range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) for the army. A formal announcement on the deal is likely to take place during Modi's maiden trip.
Indo-Israel ties more visible under Modi govt: Israel
Appreciating that Indo-Israel ties were more "visible" after the Modi government has come to power, Israel said on Sunday that India's policy of not having a "zero-sum game" while dealing with the Jewish nation and the Arab countries has sent a strong message.
Ahead of first prime ministerial visit from India, expected to take place in July, Israeli Ambassador here Daniel Carmon also strongly pitched for deeper cooperation in strategic ties, spread over wide-ranging sectors, including, defence, security, agriculture, education and culture.
There is a lot of "visibility" in Indo-Israel relations after Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come to power and the Jewish nation respects that change, Carmon said.
"India's policy of not having a zero-sum game while dealing with Israel and the Arab nations has sent a positive message.
"The relations between India and Israel did not start in 2014, but what has changed is the visibility of things that we are doing together. What has changed is the very important and very much respected in Israel," Carmon said.
The Israeli Ambassador also said that there may be a change in the declaration and policy of India after the Modi- led government has came
The current NDA dispensation has been very open about its relations with Israel as compared to the Manmohan Singh government, which was cautious in openly flaunting India's ties with Israel.
As India and Israel celebrate 25 years of their diplomatic relations this year, Modi is expected to visit the Middle Eastern country in July during which the two sides are expected to finalise pacts in key sectors.