Completely disproving the oft-repeated claim that Israel is becoming isolated due to its policies, Israel continues to develop ties with countries around the world, including India.
By: World Israel Staff
Israel and India have significantly advanced relations and cooperation between the two countries and this collaboration is manifest in the ties Israel’s Air Force (IAF) has forged with the Indian air force.
Over 4,000 kilometers separate Israel and India, but the Israeli and Indian Air Forces have common interests and platforms.
At the beginning of the month, IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel visited India as a part of the strengthening of the cooperation between the forces, the IAF said in a statement.
Eshel met with his Indian counterpart, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha. Later in his visit, the IAF Commander met with the Indian Minister of Defense and senior Indian army officials and Military Industries.
This is Eshel’s first visit of the Indian Air Force, and he was welcomed with an impressive official ceremony in the India Gate in the Capital New Delhi.
The two forces fly the “Heron” UAV and the “Super Hercules C-130J,” and share lessons in the fields of operations, maintenance, matters of force buildup and personnel training.
The two air forces “intend to tighten the cooperation and create an operational discourse in light of similar challenges in the asymmetrical confrontation, threats and the new battlefield,” the IAF stated.
The two forces also intend to collaborate on the issue of the integration of women as aircrew members. Women serve In the Indian Air Force as pilots in the Transport and Helicopter Divisions, and lately have begun an inquiry process regarding integration of women in the Combat Division. The Israeli Air Force has an experience when it comes to integration of women in the Combat Division and the Indian Air Force is interested in the lessons and consequences of the process.
Eshel said during his visit that the IAF “considers the Indian Air Force a strategic ally and that cooperation is important.”
The Indian Armed Forces is the fourth largest in the world. It recently celebrated 83 years since its establishment and includes over 120,000 servicemen and women.
Warming in Israel-India Relations
Israel and India’s relations have warmed up considerably, and especially since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office.
In February, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon visited India, where the two countries finalized a major defense deal worth more than $1.5 billion.
Prime Ministers Netanyahu and Modi met at the UN last September, the first such meeting in over a decade.
“We’re very excited by the prospects of greater and greater ties with India. We think the sky is the limit,” Netanyahu stated after their meeting.
Israel and India, which have held full official diplomatic relations for the past 23 years, enjoy the sharing of technological development, and India is one of Israel’s biggest clients in the defense technologies market. In 2013, India was Israel’s 10th-largest trading partner and its third-largest in Asia, after China and Hong Kong.