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Indian Navy Chief holds talks with top brass of Israeli defence forces

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Adm. Sunil Lanba being greeted by Lt Gen Gadi Eisenkot, Chief of the General Staff, Israeli Defence Force. An Indian Navy image/Twitter

NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Monday held talks with Chief of the General Staff of Israeli Defence Force Lt Gen Gadi Eisenkot and explored ways to further deepen defence and security ties between the two countries.

In their talks, they deliberated on overall security situation in the region and deliberated on various aspects of defence cooperation between the two countries.

"Adm S Lanba CNS calls-on & interacts with Lt Gen Gadi Eisenkot, Chief of the General Staff, Israeli Defence Force," Navy Spokesperson Capt D K Sharma tweeted, along with a photograph of the meeting.

Lanba, who reached in Israel on Sunday, also met Major General Udi Adam, Director General of Israel's Defence Ministry during which various issues relating to bilateral security cooperation figured.

The Indian Navy Chief's trip comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's historic visit to Israel next month.

Lanba also visited the headquarters of Israeli Defence Forces.

He is also scheduled to meet the Commander-in-Chief of Israeli Navy, Commander of Israeli Air Force, Commander of Israeli Ground Forces and a number of high-ranking officials of Israel's defence ministry, the Navy said in a statement.

Defence ties between India and Israel have been growing rapidly and a raft of mega deals including procurement of an air defence system for the Indian Navy are likely to be sealed during Modi's upcoming visit which will be the first by an Indian Prime Minister to the Jewish nation.

India is the largest buyer of Israel's military hardware and the latter has been supplying various weapon systems, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles over the last few years, but the transactions have largely remained behind the curtains.

The much-awaited deal for Barak-8 air defence missile systems for the Indian Navy and procurement of Spike anti-tank missiles for the Indian Army are expected to be firmed up during Modi's visit.

The Indo-Israel cooperation in naval sphere has witnessed an upswing in the last few years. Western fleet ships – Mumbai, Teg, Tarkash and Aditya – had recently visited Hanifa in Israel.

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