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Israel's army chief on first ever visit to India

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Chief of Army Staff of Indian Army, General Deepak Kapoor (centre) and Chief of Israeli Army, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi (right). Image credit: Israel Defence Forces

JERUSALEM (AFP/PTI): Israel's army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, has left on a trip to India, the first time the head of the Israeli military is visiting the country, the army said Sunday.

Ashkenazi left for India late on Saturday as part of a trip to Asia, the army said in a statement.

“The visit to India is part of the process of strengthening the ties between Israel and India and the nations' militaries,” it said, adding that the trip marked “the first official visit of an IDF (Israel Defence Forces) chief to India.”

Ashkenazi is due to meet his Indian counterpart, General Deepak Kapoor, on his visit, as well as the Indian National Security Advisor and heads of the country's air force and navy.

Ashkenazi will also visit other countries in the region during his trip, an army spokesman said, but declined to say which ones.

Israel replaced France in 2007 as India's second-largest arms supplier after Russia and could grab the number one slot through a vast array of defence agreements already signed with New Delhi.

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