India’s Prime Minister Modi begins tomorrow his 3 day visit to Israel. Modi is first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. He shall be received by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Modi shall call on Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Israel’s leader of opposition Isaac Herzog. sources reveal that Modi may stay in King David hotel in Jerusalem.

“Tomorrow, I begin a historic visit to Israel, a very special partner of India’s,” PM Modi tweeted today.

To be noted that Israeli media already today rolled out ‘red carpet’ for Modi in all major mainstream media news in Israel.

PM Modi will also visit Haifa Indian cemetery located next to Haifa War Cemetery for paying tributes to Indian soldiers there. Haifa was captured on 23rd September 1918 by the British Indian Army’s Mysore & Jodhpur Lancers (composed from the Indian Princely States of Hyderabad, Mysore, Patiala and Jodhpur). Haifa Indian Cemetery contains the graves of 49 Commonwealth servicemen of India who bravely won the First World War’s Battle of Haifa. About 2 million India’s militarymen fought 1st World War in many battle theatres worldwide. However in 2nd World War 2.5 million Indian forces were on War-fronts internationally.

During the visit of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin into India last year in November both countries decided to work together to counter terrorism, radicalism and extremism. India-Israel are expected to talk on terrorism and counter-terrorism operations. Both the two leaders are are expected to ink many agreements ranging from military, aerospace, agriculture, innovation, development, science and technology to space programs. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had visited India in 2003. Since then, there have been no Prime Ministerial visits from both sides. In last 25 years, only three Indian Foreign Ministers have visited Tel Aviv viz.  Jaswant Singh, SM Krishna and Sushma Swaraj.

There are chances of revival of India-Israel FTA (Free Trade Agreement) as discussed in 2000. “Our position on Israel and Palestine issue is very simple. We want both countries to exist and exist as peaceful neighbors,” said Amar Sinha, Secretary (Economic Relations) in India’s Ministry of External Affairs. During the visit of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas here in May, Modi had talked of India’s “unwavering support in supporting the Palestinian cause.” Our sources in India’s Defence, Strategic and Foreign policy establishments say that India plays equal importance to relationship with Tel Aviv and Palestine both.

“This visit will give a new direction to India-Israel ties… We have a wide range of areas of cooperation. It is a wide-ranging partnership and we want to give it a definite partnership and advance it into several areas,” said B Bala Bhaskar, Joint Secretary (West Asia), Ministry of External Affairs. Bhaskar also said that “India’s diplomatic proximity with Israel will have no adverse impact on its expanding ties with Palestine”.

Modi will visit an agricultural farm on Tuesday where he will be shown Israel’s “precision agriculture”, a technique of improving crop yield and productivity using technology efficiently. He will also be shown water management, treatment and purification technologies.

Netanyahu said in a Tweet today “Tomorrow, my friend Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Israel… I will accompany Prime Minister Narendra Modi at many events during his visit, as befits the leader of the largest democracy in the world.”

Netanyahu had commented last week that “This is a very significant step in strengthening relations between the two countries. Next week, the Indian Prime Minister, my friend, Narendra Modi will arrive in Israel, This is a historic visit to Israel. In the 70 years of the country’s existence, no Indian Prime Minister has ever visited and this is further expression of the state of Israel’s military, economic and diplomatic strength.” It may be noted, on the sidelines of UN events, Modi and Netanyahu met twice in past.

Yuval Rotem, DG of Israeli Foreign Ministry said “PM Netanyahu will escort and accompany PM Modi during his visit. This is not a practice we extended to other dignitaries. It is part of the indication from our perspective indicating the importance we attach with this visit.” Also Israel’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mark Sofer said at a press conference earlier today “There is a huge symbolic significance of the visit by the Indian Prime Minister. The historic first visit by PM Narendra Modi to Israel is going to be very successful.”

India is Israel’s biggest arms and weapons buyer of over US$ 1 billion annually. Our sources have informed that Israel’s defence, aerospace, precision, agriculture, agrotech, biotech, precious stones, water treatment/management/purification companies and high tech & innovation industries are looking to sign long term partnerships and joint ventures wit regards to Modi’s ‘Make in India’ policy.

Giving interview to Israeli media, PM Modi said that “Israel could be a technology partner in this process of transformation. Israel’s capabilities offer a good match for our flagship schemes like Clean Ganga [the effort to clean the Ganges River] and Smart Cities.”

India’s military modernization program worth more than US$ 100 billion ongoes to counter rivals Pakistan and China. Israel currently is the fourth-largest arms supplier to India after United States of America, Russian Federation and France.

International Bureau





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