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Israeli PM set to lead trade task force to India

TEL AVIV -UNS : Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will take 130 businessmen with him to India next week for trade talks which will also cover defence sales, a senior Israeli official said on Wednesday.

Foreign ministry deputy director general for Asia, Gilad Cohen, said the six-day trip starting Sunday was meant to further deepen political, trade and cultural ties.

India’s defence ministry announced last week that it would buy 131 surface-to-air missiles from Israel.

The Barak missiles made by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems are to be used for India’s first aircraft carrier which is under construction.

But at the same time, Rafael said India had cancelled a separate $500-million deal to purchase Spike anti-tank guided missiles.

“Rafael has received an official statement from the Indian ministry of defence on the cancellation of the Spike missile deal,” the company told the Jerusalem Post newspaper last week.

The Post said Rafael executives would be in the trade delegation accompanying Netanyahu.

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