Israel’s Moshe Ya’alon makes ‘historic’ trip to India to deepen defense ties

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon arrived in India on Wednesday to help promote the deepening of defense ties between the two countries. 

Ya’alon met with his Indian counterpart, Manohar Parrikar, at the Aero India air show in Bengaluru. He also spoke with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Speaking to Parrikar, Ya’alon said that his visit was “historic” and stressed the huge potential growth between the two countries in areas such as defense.

“We used to have our [India-Israel] relationship, security-wise, behind the scene," Ya’alon said in a speech in New Delhi after he attended the Bengaluru air show. "And now I am here... in Delhi to meet Prime Minister Modi and other ministers."

The visit by Ya’alon comes amid reports that Israel and India are close to inking several defense deals amounting to a total of $1.5 billion, the Times of India reported. The deals reportedly include two Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) aircraft and four aerostat radars.

Last fall, India inked a $525 million deal to buy “Spike” anti-tank missiles from Israel. India is currently the Jewish state’s largest purchaser of defense equipment, and Israel is India’s second-largest supplier of such equipment, behind Russia. 

Indian ties with Israel have increased under the leadership of Modi, as the two countries seek common ground on issues like security, technology, and the environment. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Modi met for the first time on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last September.

Posted on February 18, 2015 .