Wednesday, September 19, 2018 | 4:50 PM

Israel’s top army commander visits Indian army base in J&K

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Israel's Chief of Ground Forces Command Major General Yaakov (Kobi) Barak has visited to the Indian Army's Northern Command in Jammu and Kashmir's Udhampur district.

Defence spokesman in Jammu, Colonel N N Joshi, said Major Gen Barak accompanied by some other Israeli army officers visited the headquarters of northern command at Udhampur in Jammu on Tuesday.

Major General Barak was accompanied by wife Mrs Orit Barak and defence attachés of Israeli embassy in New Delhi.

Joshi said the chief of Israeli ground forces called on Northern Command chief Lt Gen Devraj Anbu to discuss the matters of mutual interest.

Media reports quoting sources said the meeting was also attended by some other army commanders.

“During the meeting, army officials briefed the Israeli delegation of Pakistan’s proxy war in J&K counter-militancyancy operations undertaken by security forces to end 28-year-old militancy in the State,” the reports said.

They said the army commanders also briefed the Israeli delegation about the consistent efforts made by Pakistani troops to infiltrate militants into Jammu and Kashmir from Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) in the State.

“An Israeli delegation led by major general Yakov (Kobi) Barak called on the Northern Command's general officer commanding-in-chief Lt Gen Devraj Anbu to discuss matters of mutual interest,” an army statement said.

"The delegation expressed full satisfaction in further pursuing enhanced cooperation between the two countries", it said.

Orit Barak visited the Asha School at Udhampur along with the Army Wives Welfare Association's regional president, Gowri Anbu.

Maj Gen Yaakov heads the Technological and Logistics Directorate in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). He is the first top army commander of Israel to visit the Northern Command headquarters, an officer said.

Defense ties have long underpinned Indian-Israeli relations, but a string of deals signed this year reflected wider cooperation that could benefit Indian companies seeking advanced technologies and could pave the way for Israeli firms to access millions of consumers.

In July, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said India signed several agreements with Israel on science, agriculture and technology, as part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country, 25 years after both nations established diplomatic relations.

The agreements included the decision to create a bilateral technology innovation fund worth $40 million for research in industrial development, and to establish a strategic partnership.

A few months after Narendra Modi’s visit, Indian Air Force fighters joined Israel and five Nato air forces in the so-called Blue Flag joint air force exercises. This was the first time that the Indian military publicly held such manoeuvres with their Israeli counterparts.

This year, comparisons were made between the Indian army and the Israeli army after Major Gogoi tied a voter in Kashmir’s Budgam area to his military jeep and used him as a human shield, which was heavily criticized by human rights groups. Major Gogoi was later rewarded.