PM’s visit to Israel to strengthen ties

03-07-2017
DH

The prime minister’s visit to Israel will see India and the West Asian nation elevating their relations to a strategic partnership, stepping up cooperation in defence, homeland security, cybersecurity, agriculture, water, space, health, innovation as well as research and development. 

Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are likely to announce a joint fund for encouraging private companies of the two nations to focus more on innovation and research and development.

Modi’s visit to Israel is going to be the first by an Indian prime minister, although the two countries had established formal diplomatic relations in 1992.

Indian dignitaries visiting Israel in the past had made it a point to visit Palestine, too. President Pranab Mukherjee visited both Israel and Palestine in October 2015. 

External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, too, visited Palestine after touring Israel in January 2016, just as one of her predecessors, S M Krishna, had done in October 2012.

India was the first non-Arab country to recognise Palestine way back in 1988. India’s growing ties with Israel after the BJP’s ascent to power in May 2014, however, fuelled speculation about New Delhi reviewing its position on Palestine.

The Modi government made it clear that while India would continue to support the cause of Palestine, it would also seek to build stronger ties with Israel. “Our relations with each country is independent of relationship with other countries. Each relationship is separate… this visit is also different,” said B Bala Bhaskar, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of External Affairs. 

New Delhi hosted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in May, ostensibly to soothe the ruffled feathers in Ramallah.

The resolution seeks to synergise the capabilities of both the Indian and Israeli economies “for the benefit of both countries.”

A flagship project will be undertaken by the both governments in the field of water and agriculture, which will demonstrate Israel’s capabilities, while providing solutions to current needs in India.

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