Jerusalem: Israeli Chief of Staff Gabi
Ashkenazi will be on a three-day visit to India from Tuesday
during which he will meet the security top brass in the
country and seek to give a further push to the burgeoning
bilateral defence ties.
"The visit to India is part of the process of
strengthening the ties between Israel and India and the
nations` militaries," the Israeli army said in a statement.
Ashkenazi will be arriving in Delhi today in what will
be the first such trip by Israel`s Chief of Staff since the
two countries established diplomatic ties in 1992.
The visit comes almost a month after Indian Army Chief
General Deepak Kapoor visited the Jewish state as "part of
ongoing exchanges" between the two countries.
The Israeli Chief of Staff will be meeting Kapoor,
National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and the chiefs of
Indian Navy and Air Force during his trip.
He is heading a high-level delegation comprising Israel`s
Head of the International Military Cooperation Department, Col
Dan Hefez, the Israel Defence Forces Attache in India, Col
Yossi Rafaelov and the director of the office of the IDF Chief
of the General Staff Lt Col Amos HaCohen.
Israel has become India`s No 1 supplier of arms and
ammunitions, overtaking Russia. The bulk of supplies
constitute about 50 percent of Israel`s defence exports and
about 30 percent of India`s imports.
Israel has supplied India a range of defence products
including Barak missiles, assault rifles, night fighting
devices, radar network, hi-tech electronic warfare systems and
information technology related equipments.
The Indian Air Force last May received the first of the
three Phalcon airborne early warning radar systems (AWACS)
from Israel as part of a USD 1.1 billion deal in a big boost
to its surveillance capabilities in the region.
The next delivery is expected in the first quarter of the
Israeli defence officials have expressed confidence in
the past that the weapons sales to India are free of the risk
that the hardware may fall in the hands of a third party
without Israel`s knowledge.
Defence industries from both the countries have also
launched joint ventures whereby assembly of Israeli products
are being done in India, while they have also cooperated in
development and marketing of defence products like the Dhruv
India had last year launched an Israeli satellite into
orbit from the Sriharikota space centre.