Modi's Israel visit marks dramatic break from past relations

Modi's Israel visit marks dramatic break from past relations

In April, state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries said India would buy almost $2 billion worth of weapons technology, making it the military exporting giant's largest ever defence contract.

Significantly, the Prime Minister will not be visiting Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian authority. However, the decision gave a push to the ties and was also seen as a significant change in India's stance towards Israel.

"We are extremely pleased that President Trump and Prime Minister Modi have had excellent deliberations and the path forward for a game-changer in US-India defence relations has been charted", said Vivek Lall of General Atomics. Cooperation on counter-terrorism is another major area of commonality between the two countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to meet Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday to elevate 25 years of diplomatic relations between the countries. "Ties between Israel and India are on a constant upswing".

The Times of India - the country's first English-language newspaper, which began publishing in 1838 - delved into some of the policy details of the visit.

Taking business ties to a higher level, Leaders stated,"We are establishing a new India-Israel CEOs Forum". Figures published by the ministry in anticipation of the visit stressed that, since diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992, trade between them has risen to $4.167 billion, representing growth of some 2,000%.

The extent of Indo-Israeli cooperation in R&D is exemplified by the joint Medium Range Surface to Air Missile System (MRSAM) while India's Ballistic Missile Defence, based on the Israeli Green Pine radar or a jointly developed long range tracking radar, is a pointer to engagement on strategic programmes.

India voted against the 1947 United Nations partition plan of British Mandate Palestine and was the first non-Arab country to recognise the authority of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

In previous decades, under the left-leaning Congress Party, former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was a regular visitor to New Delhi, pictured hugging then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when the two were championing the Non-Alignment Movement.

"We believe in a two-state solution in which both Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist peacefully", he said in an interview to the pro-government daily "Israel Hayom". Little wonder, Modi's Israel counterpart is breaking all protocol to receive him at the airport, an honour only shown to the Pope and the U.S. president.

Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu told PM Modi that "the sky is the limit" taking the potential of their partnership into account.

Cooperation in space has been ongoing quietly and Israel has used ISRO's launch vehicles for some of its satellites.

Moves are afoot to expand the India-Israel relationship beyond security. They report that India's Embassy will organise the event, and that buses have been made available to transport people to the event from across the country. He will be shown "precision agriculture", a technique of improving crop yield and productivity using technology efficiently, and will also be shown water management, treatment and purification technologies.



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