Defense Ties To Be Discussed During Israeli Prez’S Visit To India

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Defense Ties To Be Discussed During Israeli Prez’S Visit To India

During Rivlin's eight-day trip, both sides are expected to sign a number of MoUs to expand cooperation in areas of energy, agriculture, and trade.

Ahead of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s visit to India beginning Monday, Israeli envoy Daniel Carmon on Thursday flagged the “very special and unique” relationship between the two countries and expressed optimism about further deepening of the defense ties.

Calling it a “beyond the buyer and seller agreement” relationship, Carmon said, “Defense is an important aspect in our relation. I have no doubt in my mind that defense cooperation between the two countries will be discussed (when Rivlin visits India).” This will the first visit by an Israeli President in nearly two decades.

Carmon also voiced confidence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit that country “not on some day but on nearest possible date”. “A visit of PM Modi is going to happen for sure,” he said. He said both the upcoming visit by the Israeli President and Modi’s visit to Israel will be “very important”.

There are indications that Modi may visit Tel Aviv in the first half of 2017, which will be the 25th year of formal diplomatic ties between the two countries. India had established “full” diplomatic relationship with Israel in 1992 though it recognized the country in 1950.

During Rivlin’s eight-day trip, both sides are expected to sign a number of MoUs to expand cooperation in areas of energy, agriculture, and trade.

Amid cross-border terror being a major issue in India, Carmon noted that his country has also encountered many terrorist attacks. “We are glad that we have developed the capability and technology to protect our people,” he said, adding that one of the areas of relationship between India and Israel is “sharing of expertise and technology” in fields such as defense and water preservation.

Replying to a question about defense cooperation between the two countries in the wake of the Uri terrorist attack, he said, “I do not want to attach our defense cooperation to any specific occurrence. There is a permanent cooperation that we have been following.”

During his stay, the Israeli President will hold talks with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee and Modi covering key bilateral and regional issues. He will also be attending a ceremony in Taj Hotel and Chabad House in Mumbai to pay tributes to victims of 26/11 attack, in which six Jews were among those killed.

Regarding the signing of a free trade agreement between the two nations, the Israeli Ambassador said there is a process that has been going on and both sides are very keen on it.