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Israel Defence Minister Benny Gantz coming on June 1 to bolster defence ties with India

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Benny Gantz, Israel's Minister of Defence, with the Israeli diaspora (Photo: @gantzbe/Twitter)

Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz is scheduled to visit India on June 1 to sign a “special security declaration” marking 30 years of security and diplomatic relations between the two countries, according to a report in the Times of Israel.

The report cited Gantz’s office as saying he will sign the document at a meeting with Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh.

The trip was initially slated for March-end, but had to be postponed in the wake of a series of terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank/

The original meeting in March was scheduled to include talks on improving security relations between the countries.

Israel has sought to bolster defence ties with New Delhi in recent years, especially in the fields of air and missile defence, the report said.

India is one of the largest customers of Israeli weapons systems, purchasing billions of dollars worth of equipment in recent years and embarking on several joint projects with Israeli companies.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had also scheduled a trip to India in March, but postponed it after contracting COVID-19. He has yet to announce a new date.

Though New Delhi recognized Israel in 1950, ties were long frosty between the two nations, owing largely to India’s large Muslim population and its leadership role in the Cold War-era Non-Aligned Movement, the report added.

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