NEW DELHI: Ties between Israel and India are burgeoning with high level visits and high technology security, aviation and defence agreements on the anvil. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly opened the floodgates with bilateral ties now being strengthened between New Delhi and Tel Aviv at record speed.

The Palestinian issue has been discarded as an official policy, with PM Modi neither bothering to meet with the Palestinian leaders on the sidelines of UNGA or raise the issue of the Israeli attack on Gaza, that has earned world wide condemnation, in his meeting with Netanyahu.

Defence deals got a clearance in fact even before the New York meeting, with defence secretary R.K.Mathur laying the ground for joint development of assorted missile systems during a visit to Israel in June. Janes Defence Weekly in an analysis noted, “Israel's strategic, military and intelligence links with India havebecome possibly its most significant in Asia, following the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in January 1992.”

Jane’s further added, “In a surprise revelation, Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley told Parliament on 12 August, that since 2011 Israel had emerged as India’sthird largest materiel supplier-after the US and Russia-with sales worth INR 33.89 billion.

These bilateral defence ties have grown exponentially under Hindu nationalist BJP-led governments, like the one that was earlier in power for six years till 2004.

The 1999 Kargil border conflict with Pakistan, executed under a BJP administration, significantly boosted these ties, after Israel supplied India badly needed 155 mm ordnance, PGMs and UAV’s from its reserve army stocks.”

A spate of visits has added to the bonhomie. Former Israeli President Shimon Peres arrived in new Delhi to meet with PM Modi and others . The Prime Minister told Peres of his strong desire to learn from Israel, and while keeping security and defence on the table, also referred to his interest in Israeli agricultural technologies.

While Peres was here, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Tel Aviv and met with PM Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Israeli National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen took Singh on a helicopter tour of the Jordan valley and other areas to give him a sense of Israel’s security policies to be factored into the more tangible cooperation on this front that is expected from these visits.

Media reports maintain that Netanyahu spoke of his government’s willingness to share technology in areas such as aviation security, border protection and water harvesting. Government corridors are also abuzz with reports of more intense intelligence cooperation between the two countries. Singh said that the focus was on building a "hi-tech partnership." Terror was also discussed as an area of cooperation with Singh maintaining that "terror was a threat not only to countries like India and Israel but to the whole world". "Both the leaders discussed the regional situation and the terror threats to the global community...They reviewed existing cooperation and future possibilities in this area," the statement said.