Ya'alon Calls India a 'True Friend' as He Takes Off for Visit

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon takes off Monday night for a visit to India - the first time Israel's top defense official has made the trek.

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Moshe Ya'alon
Moshe Ya'alon
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Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) will take off Monday night for New Delhi as part of an official visit to India.

His visit will mark the first time an Israeli defense minister has traveled to the Asian nation. 

During his visit, Ya'alon will attend the inauguration of a defense industries of Israel pavilion during an arms fair held in the city of Bangalore, the capital of southern Indian state Karnataka. 

He is also expected to meet with senior government officials including India's Defense Minister, Manohar Parrikar. In addition, Ya'alon will meet with Czech Defense Minister, Martin Stropnicky, on the visit. 

Before flying, Ya'alon noted the importance of the visit and his excitement at participating in the arms fair. 

"This visit is very significant because it is the first time a defense minister from Israel is traveling to India, and it has great importance for the further strengthening of relations with a rising power like India."

"The Indian government is a true friend of Israel," Ya'alon continued, "and shared interests will benefit both countries. For instance, our and their defense establishments enjoy excellent relations." 

India, with close to a billion people, is currently Israel's biggest defense customer, 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, with bilateral ties flourishing under India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"At the arms exhibition, we will once more enjoy seeing the strength of the Defense industries of Israel, their unique quality and that of their employees, as well as the fact that the world sees them as the elite of the elite."