Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022

India, Israel Decide To Expand Defense Ties, Focus On Developing Futuristic Technologies

In a bid to foster their defense cooperation, India and Israel have decided to widen the already existing bilateral defense ties. The defense ministers of each country exchanged their ideas on national security and how each country faced "security challenges" and terrorism.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh PTI

India and Israel finalized a vision statement on Thursday to further step up their overall defense cooperation, especially in the co-production of key military equipment and joint research and development of futuristic technologies for the armed forces. The decision to further broad-base the already close bilateral defense ties was taken during wide-ranging talks between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his visiting Israeli counterpart Benjamin Gantz.

A "letter of intent" on enhancing cooperation in the field of futuristic defense technologies was also exchanged between Singh and Gantz, the defense ministry said. The Israeli defense minister called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. "We have a great opportunity to deepen defense cooperation between our countries and to build on our shared values in order to contribute to global stability," an Israeli statement quoted Gantz as saying during his meeting with Modi. "India is an industrial superpower and Israel is a technological superpower. Cooperation between our countries will expand the capabilities of both countries to contend with developing challenges," the Israeli defense minister said.

The defense ministry said both the ministers "acknowledged mutual security challenges and their convergences on a number of strategic and defense issues".It said they expressed their commitment to working together to enhance cooperation in all forums. "With the intention to further strengthen the existing framework of the Indo-Israeli defense cooperation architecture, both sides adopted the India-Israel 'Vision on Defence Cooperation," the ministry said in a statement. It said a wide range of issues concerning bilateral, regional, and defense industrial cooperation, along with the Ukraine crisis and the situation in the Gulf region were discussed at the meeting

The Israeli embassy said, "The ministers discussed partnerships within the government-to-government framework, military training, and technological cooperation with a focus on UAVs and defensive capabilities." It further added that the discussions covered topics such as strategic global challenges, military cooperation, defense industrial cooperation, and joint research and development. "They also discussed a cooperation agreement signed between the Indian DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and Israel's Directorate for Defense R and D, which will enable the expansion of technological collaboration and development between the countries," added the embassy.

"India and Israel share similar and common challenges, including border security and fighting terrorism. By working together, we may increase our capabilities and ensure the security and economic interests of both countries," Gantz said, according to the embassy. Singh described the meeting with Gantz as "warm and productive". "Discussed key issues pertaining to defense cooperation and global and regional scenarios during the bilateral meeting. We place great value on our Strategic Partnership with Israel," the defense minister said in a tweet. "Glad that both the countries adopted a 'Vision Statement' which will pave the way for defense cooperation in future. There is a broad consensus between both the countries on further strengthening the bilateral strategic and defense cooperation," he also added.

Earlier in the day, Gantz visited the National War Memorial and paid homage to the fallen heroes by laying a wreath. He was accorded a ceremonial guard of honor before his talks with Singh. India has been a major buyer of Israel's military hardware. Israel has been supplying various weapon systems, missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles to India over the last few years, but the transactions have largely remained behind the curtains. India has procured a number of weapons and ammunition, including Spike anti-tank guided missiles, from Israel in the last couple of years.