Narendra Modi Israel visit: PM Narendra Modi is all set to begin two-day historic Israel visit starting Tuesday. Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel – he has opted to go there despite facing stiff criticism from other political parties. It may be recalled that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had famously feted then Israeli PM Ariel Sharon despite opposition from many quarters. The Prime Minister’s visit to the nation gains significance due to many reasons. Among these, heightening defence ties between the two countries, taking forward the fight against terror and symbolism to re-start the close association between the two nations are the most significant ones. Apart from these, Narendra Modi and his counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu’s table will also have issues related to Cyber Security, Water Conservation, Agriculture, and health. The visit can be separated into three categories – one carrying symbolic significance and the others to cement close defence and economic ties.
Meeting Baby Moshe
In one of the top symbolic gestures, PM Modi will meet 10-year-old Moshe Holtzberg, whose parents were killed in the 26/11 terror attack at Mumbai’s Nariman House (now called Chabad House) when he was a toddler.
Visit to Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum
After the meet, Modi is also scheduled to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, where the Indian Premier will lay a wreath, visit the Children’s Memorial, and sign the guest book. Modi’s visit will also see boostening of defence ties between the two nations.
Not visiting Ramallah
In a big move, Modi will not be visiting official Palestinian capital of Ramallah, something other world leaders have always been doing while visiting Israel. The move is being said to balance India’s ties with Israel and Palestine.
Signing of treaties
The two nations are expected to ink some major defence deals. As per a Reuters report, Indian PM is aiming to give a push to his trademark ‘Make in India’ drive, and will be making efforts to advance sales and production of missiles, drones and radar systems. New Delhi is now Tel Aviv’s largest arms market, buying weapons at an average of $1 billion each year. According to the sources of Financial Express, the visit may see inking of several arms deals, including a contract for Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)’s Heron TP drone and for Phalcon (AWACS).
The issue of water conservation will also be discussed between Modi and Netanyahu. A few days ahead of Modi’s visit, union cabinet had approved the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two countries on a water conservation campaign in India. The MoU aims to conserve water for future generations, an official statement had said. “The two countries shall work to enhance cooperation at the national, regional and international level to design, implement and monitor the professionally-designed conservation campaign,” the statement said.
Agricultural and Health ties
Agricultural and ties will also take a high note on agenda during PM Modi’s two-day tour. As per Danny Carmon, Israel Ambassador to India, Agriculture and water, among others, will be the areas of cooperation the “two countries wish to set up joint strategic partnerships.” Also, the two countries are expected to discuss support to each other on health.