India and Israel are expanding their security cooperation beyond defence supplies and weapons development to internal security, even as visiting Israeli defence minister vowed to play a bigger role in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's drive to build a defence industrial base.
A five-member Israeli delegation led by defence minister Moshe Ya'alon called on union minister of home affairs Rajnath Singh in New Delhi today.
The two countries have identified cyber security, including cyber forensics, and joint development of technology as thrust areas for cooperation in the areas of homeland security. ''Our cooperation in homeland security is a reflection of our shared security needs,'' said Rajnath Singh.
Four India-Israel working groups on homeland security are due to hold their first meeting in India next month.
The union home minister mentioned the strong bilateral ties in the defence sector and said that we need to carry this collaboration forward. He asked Israel to take advantage of India's raising FDI ceiling in defence sector to 49 per cent and reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi's priority to promote manufacturing in India.
Recalling his visit to Israel in November last year, Rajnath Singh said, ''Israel had expressed its desire to share cutting-edge weapons technologies with India. Both the countries are willing to move forward.''
Noting that non-military bilateral trade crossed $4 billion last year during the period January-November 2014, Rajnath Singh said that India's interest in a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Israel was particularly in the service sector. ''We would need a good offer in Services to make the FTA attractive for the Indian industry,'' he said.
The visiting minister said there are challenges in the field of internal security and counter-terrorism for the two countries.
He mentioned that the two countries have capabilities and potential for cooperation in the field of research and development and science and technology.
The Israeli defence minister also emphasised for enhanced cooperation and joint ventures under a memorandum of understanding between the two countries which will allow more cooperation.
Israel is India's third largest arms suppliers after Russia and the United States.