by David Bedein
JERUSALEM - This week, India and Israel launched another defense summit.
The two countries convened their military chiefs for a five-day summit to review defense and military cooperation.
Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi represented Israel and was invited by his Indian counterpart, Gen. Deepak Kapoor.
“The visit to India is part of the process of strengthening the ties between Israel and India and the nations’ militaries,” a statement by the Israeli military statement said last Sunday.
Israeli military sources said Mr. Ashkenazi and Mr. Kapoor reviewed strategic relations, assessing the regional situation, including Al Qaida, and discussing experiences with new weapons and techniques. They said the review would help India decide on new weapons procurement programs with Israel.
“This was the first official visit of an Israel Defense Forces chief to India,” the statement said.
Israel has been deemed the leading military supplier of India.
The Indian military has been absorbing airborne early-warning and alert aircraft, air defense systems, aircraft upgrades, unmanned aerial vehicles, missile defense systems and light armament from Israel.
“In the past year, Israel has overtaken Russia as its main defense equipment supplier, and about 30 percent of India’s defense imports come from Israel, and that number is growing,” Indian defense analyst Behram Sahukar told the Jerusalem Post.
India has sought to intensify defense and military relations in wake of the Al Qaida-aligned Mumbai attacks in November 2008, in which six Israelis and Jews were killed.
India has deemed the acquisition of naval reconnaissance and counter-insurgency systems a priority.
“Both India and Israel want to expand their military exercises, especially for the air force,” an Israeli military source confirmed.
View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin