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February 6, 2015 10:31 am

Moshe Ya’alon to Become First Israeli Defense Minister to Visit India

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Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon will visit India this month. He will become the first Israeli defense minister to visit India. Photo: Reuven Kapuscinski. – Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is scheduled to visit India later this month, marking the first-ever visit by the holder of his office to that country.

Ya’alon will meet with senior Indian counterparts and visit the Aero India defense trade exhibition in Bangalore from Feb. 18-21.

Last fall, Israel and India reportedly inked a $525 million deal to buy the “Spike” anti-tank missiles from Israel. It is expected that Ya’alon’s visit could lead to future security deals, which could bring in billions of dollars to the Israeli economy.

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Under the leadership of new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ties with Israel have increased as the two countries seek common ground on issues like security, technology, and the environment. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Modi met for the first time on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last September.

Modi, who served as chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat from 2001-2014, forged strong ties with Israeli businesses during that time. Under his leadership, Israeli companies poured billions of dollars of investment into Gujarat in areas like industrial research, solar and thermal power, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, water recycling and desalination.

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