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Jaishankar to visit Israel next week to meet key leaders of new coalition

The Indian government had forged a very close relationship with former premier Benjamin Netanyahu, and the visit will be an opportunity for New Delhi to take forward relations with the new dispensation in Israel. The new government was formed after months of political turmoil, with Israel witnessing five elections in just two years.
External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar will visit Israel next week at the invitation of Lapid, who is also the alternate prime minister of the new coalition. Lapid, the head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, is set to take over the role of premier from Bennett in 2023. (PTI PHOTO.)
Updated on Oct 16, 2021 07:16 PM IST

External affairs minister S Jaishankar will visit Israel during October 17-21 for meetings with members of the new coalition government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and to take forward cooperation in diverse fields.

This will be Jaishankar’s first visit to Israel since he became foreign minister in 2019. Besides holding talks with his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid, he will also meet the Prime Minister, President Isaac Herzog and Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy.

Jaishankar is visiting at the invitation of Lapid, who is also the alternate prime minister of the new coalition. Lapid, the head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, is set to take over the role of premier from Bennett in 2023 under the agreement that led to the formation of the coalition government.

The Indian government had forged a very close relationship with former premier Benjamin Netanyahu, and the visit will be an opportunity for New Delhi to take forward relations with the new dispensation in Israel. The new government was formed after months of political turmoil, with Israel witnessing five elections in just two years.

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India and Israel elevated their ties to a strategic partnership when Narendra Modi became the first Indian prime minister to travel to Israel in July 2017. The relationship between the two countries has focused on expanding knowledge-based partnership, including collaboration in innovation and research and boosting the “Make in India” initiative, the external affairs ministry said.

Jaishankar will interact with the Indian-origin Jewish community in Israel, Indologists, Indian students pursuing their education in Israeli universities and businesspeople, including representatives of hi-tech industries.

The visit will also be an occasion to pay tribute to Indian soldiers who laid down their lives in the region, especially during World War 1, the ministry said.

Alon Ushpiz, Director General of the Israeli foreign ministry, had announced Jaishankar’s visit on Twitter on Friday, describing India as a “strategic partner and a very close friend”.

Modi had spoken over the phone with Bennett in August and both leaders agreed to expand cooperation, especially in hi-tech and innovation. They also decided the two foreign ministries would prepare a roadmap for enriching the bilateral strategic partnership.

Modi also invited Bennett to visit India in 2022, when the two sides will mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

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