Army chief`s visit to Israel cancelled

Army Chief General VK Singh`s visit to Israel next month has been cancelled because of instability in West Asian region.

New Delhi: Army Chief General VK Singh`s
visit to Israel next month has been cancelled because of
"instability" in West Asian region, particularly Syria,
Government said on Tuesday.

Singh`s three-day official visit to Israel was scheduled
to start from March 16.

"Syria is restless and other things are happening in the
region...," Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju told
reporters here today while replying to a question on the
reasons for cancellation of the visit by the Defence Ministry.

"Primarily because of what is happening in Syria which is
experiencing little turbulence. So I guess it is better. I am
sure they must be better informed about the situation."

When asked why the decision was taken so late, he said,
"These things can happen anytime. We cannot predict. So it is
better to be cautious."

During his visit, the Army Chief was expected to discuss
with his Israeli counterpart the future joint development of
defence programmes.

Defence cooperation between India and Israel has been
burgeoning since diplomatic relations between New Delhi and
Tel Aviv were established in 1992.

The ties have become stronger in the recent times with
India emerging as the largest purchaser of Israeli defence
hardware since the beginning of the 21st Century.

Replying to a question on Pakistan expressing reservation
on India leasing nuclear submarine INS Chakra from Russia, the
Minister said every country has the right to strengthen its
deterrence capabilities.

"Why should they have objections? Every nation has a right
to strengthen itself and build deterrence capabilities. I am
surprised that they have expressed that," Raju said.

Meanwhile, Defence Ministry sources said that the nuclear
submarine `Nerpa` will arrive at Vishakhapatnam next month on
a ten-year lease.

The submarine is scheduled to arrive at its home base
Vishakhapatnam in the second half of March, they said, adding
the deal is worth USD 920 million.


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