India-Israel ties out in the open, says Ya’alon

Published - February 19, 2015 12:43 am IST - BENGALURU:

In a statement of strategic significance, Israel Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon acknowledged on Wednesday that India and Israel ties were out in the open after keeping a low profile for years.

 “… we were ready to expose relations earlier, but it was for the Indian government to take it out of the closet,” he said.The Minister inaugurated the Israeli Pavilion at Aero India, which got under way here on Wednesday.

 Talking on the significance of his visit, Mr. Ya’alon said that India was important to his country’s defence industry and pledged complete support to partner with India on “Make in India.”

 “We are open to more or less [selling] anything. We believe that we have the better product,” he said.

During the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Israeli pavilion at Aero India.

India and Israel established bilateral relations in 1992 and with several common concerns, strategic cooperation quickly progressed. Since Mr. Modi’s government came to power, India has been more assertive in acknowledging the depth of the relationship. Both sides have seen a flurry of interactions even at the highest level.

 Mr. Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in New York last September on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. 

 India is one of Israel’s biggest defence customers and both sides have embarked on joint development of weapon systems. A long-range surface-to-air missile under development was tested for the first time in November. In October, India selected Rafael’s Spike anti-tank guided missile over the U.S. Javelin missile in a deal worth $525 million. 

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