Ya’alon Visit Highlights India-Israel Ties

Ya’alon Visit Highlights India-Israel Ties

TEL AVIV — Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s February visit to India has been hailed here as an indication of Indo-Israeli relations “coming out of the closet,” but in actuality, in the past 15 years ties between the two countries have reached new heights.

“The sky is the limit,” said Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. “India is huge. The standard of living of many millions of people is increasing, which makes India a wonderful market in many areas.”

While Ya’alon’s visit — where he met with Prime Minister Modi Feb. 19 in New Delhi and attended the Aero India show in Bangalore — is the first time an
Israeli defense minister has traveled to India in an official
capacity, it is certainly not the first high-level meeting between the sides. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Modi in New York at last fall’s UN General Assembly, former President Ezer Weizman went to New Delhi in 1996, and the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited in 2003.

“Nobody in the world was willing to accept Ariel Sharon [at the time] and the Indians did,” Inbar pointed out.

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