Narendra Modi Israel Visit: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting Israel from July 4-6, 2017 at the invitation of his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu. This will be the first ever visit of an Indian Prime Minister to Israel. During the visit, PM Modi is expected to have detailed discussions with PM Netanyahu on matters of mutual interest to both countries. PM Modi will also call on Israeli President Rivlin. According to an MEA release, during the visit, PM Modi will pay homage to Indian soldiers at the Indian Cemetery in Haifa. On Wednesday evening, PM Modi will address a massive rally for the Indians at Tel Aviv Fairgrounds. Israel is home to around 80,000-85,000 persons of Indian origin.
PM Modi’s visit will be special as both countries are commemorating 25 years of diplomatic relations. India had recognised Israel as a sovereign nation in 1950. However, formal full diplomatic relation with Israel was established in 1992. Since then the relationship has evolved into a multi-dimensional partnership including in areas like defence, technology, education etc. Modi’s visit is expected to provide an impetus for deeper bilateral engagement in areas of mutual interest.
During the three-day visit, PM Modi will stay at the King David Hotel where US President Donald Trump had stayed during his recent visit to the country. A red carpet will be laid out to welcome PM Modi and his delegation at the hotel. Isareli PM Natanyahu will accompany PM Modi at several events during the three-day visit.
In a first, PM Modi will also address the Israeli Parliament Knesset during the visit.
Both PM Modi and PM Netanyahu are expected to sign some major defence deals and also talk about cooperation on cyber security. According to Reuters, Modi will hold three days of talks with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, to advance sales and production of missiles, drones and radar systems under his signature “Make in India” drive. India is now Israel’s biggest arms market, buying weapons at an average of $1 billion each year.
PM Modi will not travel to Ramallah, the seat of Palestine Authority.
India and Israel are also expected to announce strategic partnerships in areas including water, agriculture and space technology during PM Modi’s Israel visit.
PM Modi will also be discussing a plan for Israeli help in boosting India’s food security. Officials told Reuters that the plan is to expand 26 agriculture expertise centres that Israel has set up in 15 Indian states to help increase output of everything from vegetables to mangoes and pomegranates. Israeli companies dealing in drip agriculture technology are also hopeful of significant deals during PM Modi’s visit to the country.
Israel considers Modi’s visit as a recognition of its rise as a powerful country, especially a technology giant in the world. “Once it was a disadvantage to say that you are from Israel. Today when you talk about cyber or advanced technology, it is an advantage to say we are an Israeli company. The whole world wants us. The whole world is coming here”, PM Netanyahu was quoted by PTI as saying at the Cyber Week 2017 conference in Tel Aviv University.
“For example, there is going to be a visit of Prime Minister of India, one of the most important Prime minister’s of the world, with the third largest economy in the world growing very fast. He wants close cooperation with Israel in many fields — water, agriculture, health and also in cyber security. And he has a good reason to do so”, the Israeli PM saif in Hebrew. The Israeli PM stressed that Israel’s growing acceptance across the world, especially as a “technology giant”, is going to come to full expression during the upcoming visit of “my friend Narendra Modi”.
For India, PM Modi’s visit marks an end to India’s ambivalence towards Israel in the last many decades. Even after recognising Israel in 1950 as a sovereign country, India established full formal diplomatic ties with country only in 1992. And it took 25 years after that for an Indian PM to visit Israel. That too when Israel is one of the biggest defence partners of India. The country had supplied arms to India during 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan.