A ‘technical glitch’ is likely to create an awkward moment in India-Israel ties.
On Tuesday, when President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurates the information technology centre at the Al-Quds University in the West Bank, part of his gift for the centre will be stuck deep inside the Ashdod Port.
“A few misunderstandings” have meant that the President’s gift of four communication systems is stuck in the Ashdod Port, 40 km south of Tel Aviv.
On Monday, Ohad Horsandi, spokesperson for the Israel embassy in India, clarified that the 30 computers (that were part of the President’s gift) were released on Monday morning. As far as the communication systems were concerned he categorically said that “...When there are regulations and procedures to be followed, they have to be followed...”
Sources in Israel and Palestine, who did not wish to be named, said that last-minute efforts are being made to get the communication systems released in time for the inauguration at Al-Quds University.
The Israel leg of President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit will start on Tuesday and end with a lunch hosted by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on October 15.
Mukherjee will stay at the King David Hotel and will meet Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein, leader of opposition Itzhak Herzog and former President Shimon Peres.
He will meet the Israeli-Indian community on Tuesday and will address a special session of Knesset on Wednesday.
At the Hebrew University, on Thursday, Mukherjee will receive an honorary doctorate and will also sign MoUs on education cooperation.
“The visit of Pranab Mukherjee is the first by an Indian President and is seen by both sides as a landmark one,” Horsandi said.
From last summer, since the NDA came to power at the Centre, the Narendra Modi government has come out of the shell that India-Israel ties has accustomed itself to for more than two decades.
While Horsandi said that a date was not yet fixed for the Modi’s visit to Israel, and that talks were still on, he expressed hope that Mukherjee’s visit would be “only one part of many more visits in the future and that such visits will be part of a routine”.