Gantz is in India next week, for a 30 -year security relationship

Defense Minister Benny Gantz will travel to India next week to sign a “special security declaration” marking 30 years of security and diplomatic relations between the two countries, his cabinet announced on Wednesday. .

According to his cabinet, Gantz will leave next Wednesday, June 1. The trip was originally scheduled to take place at the end of March, but Gantz cut it short due to terrorist attacks in Israel and the West Bank, which broke out. of 19 lives since March 22.

His office did not provide further travel details or when he was expected to return, but said he would meet and sign a document with his counterpart, Rajnath Singh.

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The declaration must be ceremonial to the majority. However, the initial meeting in March is also expected to include talks on improving security relations between the two countries.

In recent years, Israel has sought to strengthen its defense ties with New Delhi, especially in the areas of air and missile defense.

India is one of the largest customers of Israel’s weapons systems. It has bought a lot of equipment for several billion dollars in recent years and has started a series of joint projects with Israeli companies.

Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh speaks during a press conference as part of the fourth US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue at the Department of State in Washington, Monday, April 11, 2022 (Credit: Michael A. McCoy /Pool via AP)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is also planning a trip to India in March for the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations, which he will have to postpone after contracting COVID-19. He has not yet announced a new date for this trip.

Even if New Delhi recognized Israel in 1950, relations have long been frozen between the two countries, largely due to India’s large Muslim population and its leading role in the Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War.

Full diplomatic relations were established in 1992.

Under the leadership of former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, relations between the two countries have heated up, culminating in the visit of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2003, the first by an Israeli Prime Minister.

Bilateral economic, diplomatic and defense relations have continued to grow in recent years, and Narendra Modi – like Vajpayee, a member of the right -wing Bharatiya Janata Party – became the first Indian prime minister to visited Israel in 2017.

On a trip to Israel last year, when he invited Bennett, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar praised his country’s business relations with Israel, saying at a meeting with CEOs and government officials that India sees Israel “in many ways as perhaps the most reliable and new. ally”.

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