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Israeli Navy Chief holds talks with defence officials

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The Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral R K Dhowan greeting the Commander-in-Chief, Israeli Navy, Vice Admiral Ram Rutberg, in New Delhi on Monday. A PIB photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Israeli Navy Chief Vice Admiral Ram Rutberg on Monday held talks with top Indian defence officials in New Delhi as the two countries look at deepening bilateral defence ties.

Rutberg met his Indian counterpart Admiral R K Dhowan at his South Block office and later called on Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar.

The visit comes at a time when the long-range surface-to- air missile (SRSAM) Barak 8 is undergoing trials in Israel. The project is being carried out by India and Israel jointly.

"We are looking forward to the trials to be completed successfully so that the missile is available for both Indian and Israeli navies," Dhowan told reporters on Monday.

Rutberg said, "The road map ahead is joint collaboration in developing defence technology.

"Together we can achieve much more than doing it alone.

This is the aim...to work together. This is the best way and this is the only way we know," he said.

Israel has been a key defence partner for India. From radars to missiles, India has been depending on Israel as it undertakes a modernisation drive of the armed forces.

Asked how Israel sees a possible visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this year, Rutberg said, "Any Indian visiting Israel is Prime Minister. We welcome him, salute him and we appreciate him."

On his part, Dhowan said that a visit by Modi will make the links between the two navies stronger.

In a bid to bolster defence ties between the two countries, frontline warship of Indian Navy -- INS Trikand -- made a port call on August 19 at Haifa in Israel.

The previous port call at Haifa by an Indian Navy warship was in 2012.

To a question on the 'One Rank One Pension' issue, Dhowan said it is "being examined with all seriousness and on priority by the government".
Rutberg, who also met the Chief of Army Staff and Chief of Air Staff, said the "hegemony" of the Indian Navy in the region was well recognised.

The Israeli Navy Chief is scheduled to travel to Mumbai and Kochi to visit various ships and shore establishments in Headquarters of Western and Southern Naval Commands, respectively.

"The visit by Vice Admiral Ram Rutberg will further consolidate Indian Navy-Israeli Navy cooperation, especially with respect to India acquiring high-end technology through the recently launched 'Make in India' initiative. Both the countries can benefit and reap strategic advantages through such cooperation," a statement by Indian Navy said.

India imports critical defence technologies from Israel.

In addition, there are regular exchange between the Armed Forces and defence personnel.

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