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Meeting Modi in India, Gantz seeks to boost security cooperation

Defense minister also meets with his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh, signs memorandum of understanding on security collaboration, notes common challenges of fighting terror

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (left) meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, June 2, 2022. (Indian prime minister's office)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz (left) meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, June 2, 2022. (Indian prime minister's office)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz urged further security cooperation with India during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Thursday.

“We have an opportunity to deepen security cooperation between our nations,” Gantz told Modi according to a statement from his office after the meeting. “India is an industrial power, and Israel is a technological power — cooperation between our countries can significantly strengthen our ability to meet the challenges we are facing.”

Earlier, Gantz held talks with his Indian counterpart, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.

The two signed a memorandum of understanding to mark 30 years of security ties between their two countries and agreed to build further cooperation, Gantz’s office said in a statement.

“India and Israel share common challenges of border protection and the war on terror — together we can strengthen the security and economic interests of the two countries,” Gantz said at the meeting.

During their talk, the ministers discussed international strategic issues, military and industrial cooperation, and joint work on the research and development of weapons, the statement said.

They also discussed the terms of a document signed Thursday between India’s DRDO weapons research organization and the parallel department of Israel’s Defense Ministry for collaboration on research and development.

Projects will include joint military training and implementing drone technology and defense systems.

“During the meetings, the ministers agreed on their intention to develop the security ties between the countries — the security cooperation, which combines Israel’s technological capabilities and operational experience together with India’s production and knowledge capabilities,” the statement said.

Earlier Gantz visited India’s national soldiers’ memorial.

Joining Gantz is Yair Kulas, the head of the Defense Ministry’s weapons exports department; Dror Shalom, who heads the ministry’s Political-Military Bureau; and Yaki Dolef, Gantz’s military secretary.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz begins a visit to India, June 2, 2022. (Virender singh)

Gantz had planned to fly out Wednesday afternoon but was forced to delay his departure by several hours when the opposition lawmakers refused to offset his absence during votes in the Knesset.

Offsetting votes is a common Knesset practice, whereby a coalition and an opposition MK cancel out each other’s votes, as a courtesy, by an agreed-upon mutual absence or abstention. Hours before the 3 p.m. scheduled flight, a Likud party source confirmed that the opposition would “absolutely” refuse to offset Gantz’s vote.

The trip was initially meant to take place in late March, but Gantz postponed it amid a series of deadly terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank.

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