Israel Defence Force chief to visit Delhi

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Tel Aviv (Israel), Dec.7 (ANI): Israel Defence Force (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi embarked on five-day visit to the Far East on Sunday. He will touch down in New Delhi, where he will meet with his Indian counterpart, Gen. Deepak Kapoor.

Lt.Gen. Ashkenazi described his visit to India as part of the deepening of relations between the two countries and their armed forces.

"In the past year, Israel has overtaken Russia as its main defence equipment supplier, and about 30 percent of India's defence imports come from Israel, and that number is growing," the Jerusalem Post quoted Col. (Ret.) Behram A. Sahukar, a former fellow in India's Terrorism and Security Studies at the Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses, as saying.

He said Israeli weapons like the Tavor assault rifle and other equipment "are being imported for the modernization of India's Special Forces and communications equipment. Joint simulation exercises and training of complete units could also be initiated."

Israeli defence officials say India can obtain solutions to the threat of terrorism from Israel that cannot be obtained from other countries.

In recent years, Israel has sold India military products ranging from unmanned aerial vehicles to truck-mounted cannons.

Israel developed the cannons especially for the Indian military so that they can be placed on trucks at a low cost.

Israeli defense officials believe the weapons sales to India are free from the risk that the hardware may be re-sold to a third party without Israel's permission.

Israel, for its part, has been granted access to India's space launch centers, described by one Israeli defense official as "having some of the best launch capabilities in the world." (ANI)

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