Indian Defense Minister Delays Visit to Israel Due to Gaza Crisis

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Yossi Melman
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Yossi Melman

Indian Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee has postponed a planned visit Israel, it emerged yesterday.

The decision came in the wake of Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip and escalating tension with the Palestinians. Mukharajee delayed his scheduled arrival on 7 July following consultations with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. The Times of India newspaper reported that India's leftist factions led by the Communist party are urging their government to condemn what they termed as "Israel's brutal attacks on the Palestinians and their elected representatives."

The main purpose of his visit concerns mainly arms deals with Israel, and Mukharajee was to head a delegation of senior defense and arms industry officials. Israel is India's second-largest arms provider and purchasing contracts between the countries totaled in the last decade nearly $5 billion.

Among other weapon systems, India is considering purchasing from Israel an advanced anti-missile defense system, unmanned aircrafts and night vision equipment.

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