Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel culminates 25 years of painful rebuilding of relations between the two nations bonded by one common chord — victims of terrorism.
When Israel was allowed to open its cultural office in Mumbai in the mid-1990s, the move had raised several eyebrows among the diplomats and academics alike, while many news outlets failed to notice the underlying shift in India’s foreign policy, barring the Times of India.
An ardent supporter of the Palestine cause at the international fora throughout, India began to handshake with Israel to focus on bilateral cooperation in agriculture and defence supplies to begin with, and now it has reached its peak with the upcoming visit of PM Narendra Modi to Israel from July 4 to 6, 2017.
Though Modi’s visit to Israel was combined with a visit to Hamburg in Germany, to attend the G-20 summit from July 6th to 8th, Israel takes away the world attention, as the Indian Prime Minister is paying his first official visit to the country, which was instrumental in dividing the Post-War world.
“I will be visiting Israel on 4-6 July, 2017 upon invitation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As the first Indian Prime Minister to do so, I am greatly looking forward to this unprecedented visit that will bring our two countries and people closer. This year, India and Israel are marking 25 years of our diplomatic relations,” said Modi in his Facebook post.
Besides the common challenge of terrorism, both leaders will discuss the full spectrum of partnership and strengthening it in diverse fields including defence supplies. On the economic side, “I will join with leading Indian and Israeli CEOs and start-ups to discuss our shared priority of expanding business and investment collaboration on the ground,” he said.
PM Modi will visit the Yad Vashem Memorial Museum to honour the memory of the victims of the holocaust and also pay tribute to the courageous Indian soldiers who laid down their lives during the liberation of Haifa in 1918 during the World War One.
India Israel relations date back to Sept. 17, 1950, when India recognised the formation of Israel. But the renewal of formal diplomatic relations began with the setting up of an office in Mumbai in 1992, with defence cooperation taking the centre stage between the two nations.
The visit to Israel by Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of Indian Navy, last month paved the way for greater cooperation in defence relations. Prior to that, a parliamentary delegation led by SS Ahluwalia visited Israel while External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj too paid a visit that paved the way for PM’s visit.