'Israel and India at the Start of a New Era'

Netanyahu welcomes Indian Home Affairs Minister - equivalent to Internal Security Minister - as bilateral relations continue to flourish.

Ari Yashar,

Binyamin Netanyahu, Rajnath Singh
Binyamin Netanyahu, Rajnath Singh
Kobi Gideon/GPO/FLASH90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with Indian Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday night, in which the two discussed strengthening the bilateral relations between the two nations.

"Israel and India are at the beginning of a new era and we are working to raise our cooperation in a wide variety of fields," Netanyahu said during the meeting.

Singh's visit is the first Home Minister visit since a 2000 trip that began resurgent bilateral ties. Singh, whose position is roughly parallel to Internal Security Minister, is on a four-day visit to Israel with senior officials.

As Netanyahu stated, the two countries have indeed been increasing their connections in recent months under the watch of India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi who has been touted as a staunch ally of Israel.

Netanyahu and Modi met in New York two months ago, where Netanyahu told him "we are excited about the possibilities of stronger ties with India, and the sky is the limit."

India is currently the largest buyer of Israeli defense hardware, and Israel's military delegation to India is second only in size to its delegation to America. The two countries also have a Joint Working group on counter-terrorism.

Modi two months ago approved the purchase of 262 Israeli-made Barak 1 surface-to-air missiles, in a $144 million deal that will arm India's 14 battleships over the course of five years.

India has been actively buying Israeli weapons; last year it approved the purchase of 15 Heron drones.

India bought 8,356 Spike anti-tank missiles and 321 launchers from Israel last month in a deal worth 32 billion rupees ($525 million), rejecting a rival US offer.

The two countries are also involved in joint military projects, with Israel developing the Barak 8 advanced missile in cooperation with India, further pointing to the strong military ties.

As defense ties with America continue to grow tense, as highlighted in Operation Protective Edge when US President Barack Obama froze the routine transfer of Hellfire missiles to Israel and ordered scrutiny on future shipments, Israel continues to show signs of developing Asian allies such as India, China and Japan.




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