Military ties, tech on top of PM Narendra Modi’s Israel list
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a two-day maiden visit to Israel on July 5, the first by an Indian PM, and mark 25 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries, officials said on Wednesday.india Updated: Apr 13, 2017 07:56 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a two-day maiden visit to Israel on July 5, the first by an Indian PM, and mark 25 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries, officials said on Wednesday.
Modi will be in Israel on July 5 and 6 en route to the July 7-8 G-20 Summit at Hamburg, Germany.
Preparatory work for the historic first has already begun, with defence secretary G Mohan Kumar bound for Tel Aviv on April 24-26 for a high-power joint working group meeting on military cooperation.
India is keen to jointly develop an armed drone with long endurance and high survivability in the war theatre, officials said.
Foreign secretary S Jaishankar will also visit Israel early next month, even as India plays host to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Thank you, my friend, for your kind holiday greeting. The people of Israel eagerly await your historic visit. https://t.co/Is1NmfWiMF— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) April 11, 2017
Though Israel is among the top four military hardware suppliers to India, with more than $1 billion in annual sales to New Delhi, the Modi government is keen to ensure that this visit is not focused on defence ties alone, but encompasses long-term economic and technological cooperation, resulting in a free-trade agreement.
Modi’s visit will be an open acknowledgement of India’s close ties with Israel, and also pave the way for transfer of high-end agricultural technologies that will benefit Indian farmers.
In the context of West Asia and the Af-Pak region, terrorism will top the agenda, and Israel is expected to brief the Indian prime minister of the role of Iran’s support to Shia extremist groups in destabilising Iraq and Syria. Tel Aviv will also share its assessment on the spread of the so-called Islamic State (IS).
Modi’s itinerary in Israel is still be worked out, but the larger part of the two-day programme will be aimed at people-to-people interaction, and the charting out of an agenda for future exchanges, the officials said.