A wide range of issues concerning bilateral, regional and defence industrial cooperation were discussed during the meeting

NEW DELHI: Aiming to bolster the mutual defence relationship, India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Israeli Defence Minister Benjamin Gantz on Thursday exchanged a Letter of Intent that spoke of enhancing cooperation in futuristic defence technologies.

The two ministers expressed a commitment to work together to enhance cooperation in all forums.

Defence Minister Gantz had reached New Delhi on Thursday morning on an official visit.

The Ministry of Defence said, "With the intention to further strengthen the existing framework of the Indo-Israeli defence cooperation architecture, both sides adopted the India-Israel Vision on Defence Cooperation. A Letter of Intent on enhancing cooperation in the field of Futuristic Defence Technologies was also exchanged between the two ministers."

A wide range of issues concerning bilateral, regional and defence industrial cooperation were discussed during the meeting.

"The ministers conducted a discussion that covered topics including strategic global challenges, military cooperation, defence industrial cooperation and joint Research and Development (R&D)," the office of Israel's Defence Minister said.

The two ministers reviewed the existing military-to-military activities and "discussed ways to increase cooperation in all domains with a focus on Research and Development in future technologies and defence co-production."

The ministers acknowledged mutual security challenges and their convergences on a number of strategic and defence issues.

As per the statement by the office of Israel's Defence Minister, "India and Israel share similar and common challenges, including border security and fighting terrorism. By working together, we may increase our capabilities and ensure the security and economic interests of both countries," Benny Gantz said.

India and Israel reiterated their commitment to deepening and expanding defence cooperation by presenting a vision for future collaboration, outlined in a joint declaration.

They also discussed a cooperation agreement signed between the Indian DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and Israel's Directorate for Defence R&D, which will enable the expansion of technological collaboration and development between the countries.

The ministers discussed partnerships within the Government-to-Government framework, military training, and technological cooperation with a focus on UAVs and defensive capabilities.

It was Gantz's first visit to India. Defence cooperation has been one of the significant pillars of bilateral cooperation. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the formation of the official diplomatic ties between India and Israel.

All service chiefs of the Indian Armed forces, the Defence Secretary and other senior officials of the MoD and the armed forces from the Indian side were present during the meeting.

On the Israeli side, the meeting was attended by Ambassador of Israel to India Naor Gilon, Chief of Staff to Israel's Minister of Defence Maayan Israeli, Military Secretary Brig. Gen. Yaki Dolf, Director of the Policy and POL-MIL Bureau Dror Shalom, Head of the International Defense Cooperation Directorate Yair Kulas and Israel's Defense Attache to India Col. Asaf Maller.