| GEO World|
| Israel army chief meets Indian armed forces brass|
| Updated at: 0714 PST, Thursday, December 10, 2009|
NEW DELHI: Israeli chief of defence staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi Wednesday met the top brass of the Indian armed forces and discussed boosting cooperation in the field of counter terrorism besides talking about the delivery schedule of weapons and equipment purchased by India.
“The Israeli chief of defence staff today (Wednesday) met chiefs of the Indian Army, air force and navy,” said a defence official.
“He discussed the delivery schedule of AWACS (Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems) with the Indian Air Force chief (Air Chief Marshall P.V. Naik). The Israeli chief is also seeking to expand the counter-terrorism cooperation between the two countries especially post 26/11,” the official added speaking strictly on condition of anonymity.
This is the first visit of an Israeli chief of defence staff to India. Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor, during his Tel Aviv visit last month, had invited Ashkenazi.
India is Israel’s biggest customer for weapons and has a longstanding relationship with Tel Aviv. India has bought military hardware and software from Israel worth about $8 billion since the 1999 Kargil conflict with Pakistan.
In 2004, India ordered three Phalcon AWACS from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), fitted on Russian-built Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft. The first of the AWACS were inducted in the Indian Air Force in May this year.
Israel has also sold IAI Malat-built Searcher MkII and IAI Heron unmanned aerial vehicles to the Indian Air Force. The IAI recently upgraded 32 Mi-24 helicopters for the Indian Army.
Also, Rafael, the Israeli authority for development of weapons and military technology, is a major company vying for a $10 billion contract for the supply of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft to the Indian Air Force.