Narendra Modi in Israel: How world media covered India PM’s groundbreaking visit to Tel Aviv

Narendra Modi in Israel: The international media are also having a close eye on the visit, which PM Modi described as “ground-breaking” after his arrival in Tel Aviv on Tuesday

Narendra Modi in Israel: India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Israel on a three-day historic tour. With the trip, PM Modi has become the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. The trip holds a lot of significance at a time when power equations of the world are changing fast. The international media are also keeping a close eye on the visit, which PM Modi described as “ground-breaking” after his arrival in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. While the Israeli media have left no stone unturned to make PM Modi and Indians feel welcomed in Israel, here we take a look at how some of the leading international media have reported PM Modi’s visit to Israel.

The New York Times writes PM Modi’s visit to Tel Aviv has reinforced Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s longstanding argument that “far from being diplomatically isolated because of its policies toward the Palestinians, Israel is constantly being courted by countries seeking help in technology, intelligence and counterterrorism.”

The report carries the headline, “Indian Premier, in Israel Visit, Seeks to Break Barriers in Trade and History”. It notes that Modi seems “as eager as” Netanyahu to delink Israel from the Palestinian question. It furthers says both India and Israel have “developed as vibrant democracies in adverse conditions and have many joint interests.”

The NYT reports Modi’s visit as a “culmination of a gradual policy pivot”, starting from the 1950s when then Indian leaders “saw common cause” with the post-colonial Arab world but kept building military ties with Israel.

CNN reports Modi’s visit with the headline “Indian Prime Minister makes historic visit to Israel”. It says, “Israel has in recent years become an important defense supplier for India. The two countries signed an air and missile defense deal worth almost $2 billion in April, in what Israel termed the ‘largest defense contract deal’ in its history.” The CNN also notes that Modi’s visit comes “amid an an escalating border dispute between India and neighboring China, with both sides accusing the other of territorial intrusions.”

The Washington Post has published a wire story which, apart from highlighting India’s growing defence and trade ties with Israel, notes how things have changed between the two countries in the last 25 years. “During the Cold War, India was a leading member of the Nonaligned Movement of developing countries and sided staunchly with the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel. Before ties were established in 1992, India would not even allow its citizens to enter Israel on an Indian passport.”

The BBC starts its report, saying, “Narendra Modi has arrived in Tel Aviv, becoming the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel.” The report tries to outline the agenda of Modi’s visit. It says defence deals will be the top agenda.

The BBC notes India’s past dilemma vis-a-vis Israel. “In the past however, the relationship has always been a balancing act given India’s sizeable Muslim population and the country’s dependence on oil imports from Arab countries and Iran.”

Ahead of the visit, Financial Times said, “Mr Modi’s trip, which begins on Tuesday, puts the seal on an increasingly close relationship, underpinned especially by billions of dollars in arms sales. It is also another step in a shift by the world’s largest democracy away from its traditional Soviet cold war allies and towards to the US and the west.”

Meanwhile, the Pakistani media is seeing Modi’s Israel visit with suspicion. Most of the Pakistani media covered Modi’s visit briefly with wire copies, while there were debates on Modi’s visit on Pakistani channels. The Dawn published a wire copy headlines as “Modi set to become first Indian PM to visit Israel”. The Express Tribune reported Modi’s visit with the headline: “Modi visit holds special meaning for Indian Jews in Israel”.

According to Hindustan Times, Khawar Ghumman, a commentator of Channel 42 said there was a “nexus” between India and Israel and the two countries were working against Islamabad. Security analyst Brig Ghazanfar Ali said Pakistan needed to “check mate” India’s “aggressive” diplomacy at a time when even Saudi Arabia seems to be looking for ties with Israel.

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