India Seeking to Strengthen Defense Partnership With Israel - Foreign Office

On arrival both the leaders Modi and Netanyahu are expected to reach Sabarmati Ashram in a 8-km-long roadshow from Ahmedabad airport similar to one held by Prime Minister Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in September last year. Reuters fil

According to a report in India's Hindustan Times on Wednesday, the deal will now be implemented on a government-to-government basis rather than working directly through the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. Indian media said Delhi would instead opt for home-made anti-tank missiles.

On Friday (January 12), two statements by India and Israel marked an important development ahead of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the country. Netanyahu is accompanied by a 130-strong business delegation to engage with Indian counterparts.

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The high-value orders include a $1.6-billion deal to buy Barak 8 air defence systems sealed a year ago during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Israel.

The two countries have grown closer since Narendra Modi became Indian prime minister in 2014, widening commercial cooperation beyond their longstanding defence ties. "And they will continue to be. sometimes it is India that comes to Israel with a request and sometimes it is Israel that comes to India with the request.We can not always fulfil those requests", Carmon said.

Carmon said a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is "on the agenda" but acknowledged that the two countries had different priorities despite the fact that there were so many "complementarities" between India and Israel.

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Meanwhile, Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon on Friday had downplayed India's stand at the UN General Assembly over the U.S. decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in place of Tel Aviv, saying New Delhi's view "cannot influence" Indo-Israel ties.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Globes Conference in Jerusalem on Thursday that he expects to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the coming weeks.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which charts arms sales around the world, Israel sold $599m worth of arms to India in 2016, making it India's second-largest weapons supplier after Russian Federation, which sold India $1.6 billion in arms that year, says the Post.

It will be the second visit by an Israeli Prime Minister to India after a gap of 15 years since Ariel Sharon visited New Delhi in 2003. Meetings with President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu are also scheduled for Monday.

PM Modi's office had come up with the idea of joint road show with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who was in Gujarat last September for a function to formally start work on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project.

Last week, the Israeli firm said it received an official notification from Indias Ministry of Defence about cancellation of the deal. Bollywood "mega-celebs wield tremendous influence around the world", Mr Cohen said.

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