DATE=7/3/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=INDIA/ISRAEL (L-O) CQ NUMBER=2-264016 BYLINE=ANJANA PASRICHA DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= INTRO: The first visit to Israel by India's Foreign Minster is highlighting the growing political and defense ties between the two countries. Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi that Jaswant Singh is to wrap up his four-day Israel visit Tuesaday. TEXT: During Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh's visit, India and Israel decided to set up a joint commission to combat terrorism. The foreign ministers of the two countries say intensified cooperation will range from areas such as counter terrorism to information technology. Mr. Singh is the second senior Indian minister to visit Israel in recent weeks. Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani had a first-hand look at Israel's security systems during a tour of its northern borders last month. A number of high-level military delegations from New Delhi have also visited Israel during the past year. India established diplomatic links with Israel in 1992, but shared strategic interests have brought the two countries close in the past decade. Cooperation in defense and counter-terrorism are at the center of their emerging relationship. Political analyst, C. Raja Mohan, says India is eager to benefit from Israel's experience in handling terrorism in order to deal with the situation in its own region. /// INSERT RAJA MOHAN ACT /// The kind of thing India is looking for is how to effectively control its own borders, because of the threat of cross-border terrorism from Pakistan. Since Israel has done well in this field there are a lot of technologies which Israel can trade with India, and the two sides are finding it useful to cooperate in that area. /// END RAJA MOHAN ACT /// Indian newspaper reports say Israel has become India's second-largest defense partner after Russia. Israel is selling sophisticated radar equipment to India - and has denied reports that the United States is trying to stop the sale. Israel is also involved in upgrading Indian fighter aircraft and other weapons systems. It will help to strengthen Indian defenses on the Kashmir border. Israel is eager to win greater leverage in South Asia as it fears that Pakistan could transfer nuclear weapons technology to the Arab world. The relationship is not restricted to defense ties alone. Trade between the two countries increased by about 50-percent last year, touching nearly one- billion-dollars. Meanwhile, New Delhi has stressed that its growing relationship with Israel will not jeopardize its traditional friendship with others in the Mideast. (SIGNED) NEB/AP/RAE 03-Jul-2000 10:44 AM EDT (03-Jul-2000 1444 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .