NEW DELHI, March 3 (PTI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday spoke to his Israeli counterpart Major General Yoav Gallant and discussed key projects relating to co-development of military hardware.
It was Singh’s first conversation with Gallant after he became Israeli defence minister around two months back.
The defence ministry said Singh underlined India’s priority for indigenisation and domestic manufacturing of defence equipment under the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) initiative.
It said he acknowledged the cooperation of Israeli industries in nurturing a world class defence manufacturing ecosystem in India and invited them to deepen investments in joint ventures with Indian companies to identify areas for collaboration, particularly in niche technologies.
“Was happy to speak with the Defence Minister of Israel, Major General Yoav Gallant. India attaches tremendous importance to its relations with Israel,” Singh said in a tweet.
“Looking forward to work closely with him towards strengthening the defence cooperation between both the countries,” he said.
Sources said the two ministers discussed key projects relating to co-development of military hardware.
In a tweet, Gallant said both sides will promote important defence projects.
“I spoke this morning with my Indian counterpart @rajnathsingh. We discussed shared security challenges and strategic issues. Israel and India recently celebrated 30 years of diplomatic ties – together, we will further deepen our bond and promote important defense projects,” he said.
The Indian statement said Singh expressed pleasure at the signing of some important MoUs between Indian and Israeli companies during the recently concluded Aero India in Bengaluru.
It said the Israeli defence minister highlighted the positive role played by India in the region and conveyed his government’s keen interest in enhancing the strategic partnership between the two countries.
“Both ministers affirmed their commitment to further deepening of bilateral defence relationship under the framework of ‘Vision Statement’ adopted last year,” it said.
A statement from Gallant’s office said he expressed his commitment to further deepening defence ties between Israel and India and promoting strategic dialogue, research and development and industrial cooperation.
The defence ties between the two sides have been on an upswing in the last few years.
In January, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a telephonic conversation with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu during which both leaders agreed on the potential for further strengthening bilateral strategic cooperation.
Netanyahu is expected to visit India this year.