Israeli PM Naftali Bennett to visit India next month

Published on Mar 20, 2022 07:30 PM IST

India recognised Israel in 1950 but full-fledged diplomatic relations were established only in 1992. The two sides elevated their relations to a strategic partnership in 2017, when Modi made the first visit by an Indian prime minister to Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will visit India next month to mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. (AP PHOTO.)
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will visit India next month to mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. (AP PHOTO.)

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will visit India next month to mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations and to take forward the strategic alliance between the two countries.

This will be Bennett’s first official visit to India since he became the prime minister in mid-2021, though he and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi met on the margins of the UN climate change conference or COP26 in Glasgow last November.

Bennett, who will arrive in India on April 2 at the invitation of Modi, said in an official statement that he and Modi will together “continue leading the way for our countries’ relations”. He added, “Modi restarted relations between India and Israel, and this is of historic importance.”

India recognised Israel in 1950 but full-fledged diplomatic relations were established only in 1992. The two sides elevated their relations to a strategic partnership in 2017, when Modi made the first visit by an Indian prime minister to Israel.

Bennett’s visit to India is expected to last four days, people familiar with the matter said on Sunday. Israel is a leading supplier of advanced military hardware to India and strategic ties between the two sides have now expanded to trilateral cooperation with West Asian states, such as the United Arab Emirates, which signed the Abraham Accords.

Modi had invited Bennett to visit India when they first met on the margins of COP26. “This visit will reaffirm the important connection between the countries and the leaders, and will mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of relations between Israel and India,” the statement from the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said.

The purpose of Bennett’s visit is to strengthen the bilateral strategic alliance and to expand the relationship. The two leaders will discuss ways to strengthen cooperation in areas such as innovation, economy, research and development, and agriculture.

Besides Modi, Bennett will meet other senior government officials and visit the Jewish community in India.

“The relations between our two unique cultures – the Indian culture and the Jewish culture – are deep, and they rely on deep appreciation and meaningful collaborations. There are many things we can learn from the Indians, and this is what we strive to do,” Bennett said.

“Together we will expand our cooperation to other areas, from innovation and technology, security and cyber, to agriculture and climate change,” he added.

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