Israeli Air Force Chief In India, Looks To Expand Ties With IAF

India and Israel continue to silently expand their already expansive ties in the fields of defence and homeland security, at a time when Tel Aviv is threatening military action to quell Iran's nuclear ambitions despite New Delhi seeking a diplomatic resolution.

Israeli Air Force commander-in-chief, Major-General Ido Nehushtan, is the latest in the series of high-level visits to India, which are kept under the radar due to political sensitivities, to further bolster the "bilateral strategic partnership''.

This comes close after Israeli minister of public safety Yitzhak Aharonovitch held wide-ranging discussions with home minister P Chidambaram on ways to expand ongoing cooperation in counter-terrorism and intelligence-sharing during his low-profile visit to New Delhi. Maj-Gen Nehushtan, on his part, discussed military cooperation with IAF chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne on Monday, and is slated to meet his naval and army counterparts and other MoD officials on Tuesday.

Interestingly, as recently reported by TOI, India is all set to order another two advanced Israeli Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems), capable of detecting hostile aircraft, cruise missiles and other incoming aerial threats far before ground-based radars, at a cost of over $800 million.

Israel is the second-largest defence supplier to India, next only to Russia. From Heron and Searcher UAVs, Harpy and Harop "killer'' drones to Barak anti-missile defence systems and Green Pine radars, Python and Derby air-to-air missiles, Israel notches up military sales to India roughly worth $1 billion every year.


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