image Photo: IAI

Israel, India talk defense

India’s Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane is holding his first talks in Israel with senior military officials.

By Erin Viner

“The Army Chief will take forward the excellent bilateral defense cooperation between Israel and India through multiple meetings with senior officials of the security establishment and exchange views on various defense-related issues,” said a statement issued by the Indian military. The goal of the visit is “to further strengthen strategic defense cooperation between both countries,” it added.

Gen. Naravane arrived in Israel on Sunday for an intensive 5-day exchange of views with Israel’s top security leaders.

On the agenda are talks with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi and a tour of the Israeli army’s multi-corps General Office Command Army (GOC) headquarters (also known as Camp Bar-Lev).

India is the world’s single largest purchaser of Israeli weapons – amounting to 43% of total sales, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Jerusalem and New Delhi agreed to establish a comprehensive 10-year plan for new areas of defense collaboration during a recent visit to Israel by Indian Defense Secretary Ajay Kumar.

Israel has reached out to help India in the health sector, as well.

This past May, the Jewish State delivered thousands of group and individual oxygen generators, respirators, medications and other emergency medical equipment to coronavirus-stricken ally India.

India is considered to be one of the most important countries for Israel, among our best friends, both globally and in the Asian and Pacific theaters,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry Deputy Director for Asia & Pacific Theater Gilad Cohen at the time. “We are proud to extend Israel’s hand to our great friend to the east, and extend to the citizens of India wishes of quick recovery and to emerge quickly out of the coronavirus crisis which they now are experiencing,” he added.

Israel also donated state-of-the-art artificial intelligence-based technologies and high-end equipment to the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in August 2020, to help curb the relentless outbreak of the coronavirus throughout the 1.35 billion- strong nation.