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Army chief's visit to Israel cancelled due to 'security reasons'

Feb 28, 2012 21:10 IST

#Army Chief General VK Singh   #Israel   #Syria   #WhyNow  

New Delhi: Army Chief General V K Singh's visit to Israel next month has been cancelled because of "instability" in West Asian region, particularly Syria, Government said today.

Singh's three-day official visit to Israel was scheduled to start from 16 March.

"Syria is restless and other things are happening in the region...," Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju told reporters here today while replying to a question on the reasons for cancellation of the visit by the Defence Ministry.

Reuters

"Primarily because of what is happening in Syria which is experiencing little turbulence. So I guess it is better. I am sure they must be better informed about the situation." When asked why the decision was taken so late, he said, "These things can happen anytime. We cannot predict. So it is better to be cautious."

During his visit, the Army Chief was expected to discuss with his Israeli counterpart the future joint development of defence programmes.

Defence cooperation between India and Israel has been burgeoning since diplomatic relations between New Delhi and Tel Aviv were established in 1992.

The ties have become stronger in the recent times with India emerging as the largest purchaser of Israeli defence hardware since the beginning of the 21st Century.

Replying to a question on Pakistan expressing reservation on India leasing nuclear submarine INS Chakra from Russia, the minister said every country has the right to strengthen its deterrence capabilities.

"Why should they have objections? Every nation has a right to strengthen itself and build deterrence capabilities. I am surprised that they have expressed that," Raju said.

Meanwhile, Defence Ministry sources said that the nuclear submarine 'Nerpa' will arrive at Vishakhapatnam next month on a ten-year lease.

The submarine is scheduled to arrive at its home base Vishakhapatnam in the second half of March, they said, adding the deal is worth $ 920 million.

PTI