Indian armed forces operates a series of drone supplied by the Israeli defence industries

New Delhi: Underscoring the importance of India-Israel defence ties, ambassador Naor Gilon said that defence cooperation between the two sides is long and successful one and that Tel Aviv is very happy to be a strong partner in areas like UAVs, rockets, missiles and whatever defence system is needed by New Delhi.

Speaking exclusively with ANI on completing one year as Israeli ambassador to India, Gilon said relations between the two nations are very warm and efforts are being made by Tel Aviv on the flagship Make-in-India programme.

"Defence cooperation is very long, very successful and very fruit full. For many years, even before our relations were as warm as they are today. Israeli companies are trying to adjust themselves to the programme of make-in-India. Meaning the biggest companies are starting joint ventures with very strong local players and together I think Israel can be a very strong player in the Make-in-India plan. We think it's a smart plan," he said on the question on India-Israel defence relations.

The Israeli ambassador stressed on being self-sufficient and added that no one will come to protect anyone today.

"If we learnt anything from what's happening in Ukraine and other places is that countries have to be self-sufficient, and ready to stand and protect themselves. No one will come to protect anyone in the world today. This was our belief in Israel from the very first day. More and more countries are coming to this realization."

The Israeli envoy stated that India's bid for self-sufficiency is a smart move and Tel Aviv will be happy to help New Delhi in this endeavour.

"For India to be self-sufficient, as much as possible, in technology everything is a smart move. Israel is very happy to be a strong partner in UAVs, in rockets, missiles and whatever defence system is needed, we are happy to cooperate," he said.

Lauding the incumbent government in India, ambassador Gilon said, "I have been a diplomat and ambassador in quite a few countries but never saw such a wide and popular support. And add to it wonderful government-to-government relations. Overall it has been a great experience."

Speaking on the I2U2, the envoy said, "A year ago, I2U2 was born. India, Israel, UAE and US are working together to improve the lives of everyone by building infrastructure. Two nice projects that are going to be here in India."

"I think India gets a lot of points in the middle east because you are very strong, you have businessmen who are very dominant in the gulf countries, especially in UAE. You are the spearhead of the triangle that is created between UAE, India and Israel. I think that the potential there is huge," he said.