PM Modi going to visit Israel from 4-6 July

Prime Minister Narendra Modi going to visit Israel on 4th July. This was revealed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a cabinet meeting on June 25. He hailed Prime Minister Modi’s upcoming visit as historic and described PM Modi as a friend.

The week before Modi’s historic visit to Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet approved of measures aimed to strengthen the Israel-India relationship.  During the Israeli cabinet meeting agreed to measures to increase Israel’s non-diamond exports to India by 25%, and established a new joint innovation, research, and development fund.  The resolutions approved also included incentives to film Bollywood movies in Israel, and plans to increase the number of Indian firms doing business in Israel.

Netanyau said:

“In the 70 years of the country’s existence no Indian Prime Minister has ever visited and this is further expression of the State of Israel’s military, economic and diplomatic strength.

This is a very significant step in strengthening relations between the two countries. India is a huge country with over 1.25 billion people, and is one of the world’s largest, growing economies. Ties between Israel and India are on a constant upswing.”

Confirming the visit the external affairs ministry announced on Wednesday about the details of the first-ever trip by an Indian Prime Minister to the Jewish state.

“During his visit, (Modi) will hold detailed discussions with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on all matters of mutual interest. He will also call on president Rivlin,” a statement from the ministry said. “The visit will provide an impetus for deeper bilateral engagement in areas of mutual interest.”

The Indian Prime Minister’s visit is being accorded considerable importance by the Israeli government. Netanyahu will be at Modi’s side for almost the whole of his two-and-a-half day visit, said Israeli ambassador Daniel Carmon.

Though the two countries normalised diplomatic relations only in 1992, India and Israel have a remarkably close security relationship. Israeli may turn out to be the single-largest supplier of weapons to India in dollar terms in fiscal year 2015-16.

India-Israel Business & Defense Deal

  • Initially, ties were very much defense-driven, with India facing domestic terrorism, a perennial rivalry with Pakistan, with which it has fought several wars, and sometimes uneasy relations with China.
  • India is the largest buyer of Israeli military equipment and Israel is the second-largest defence supplier to India after Russia. From 1999 to 2009, the military business between the two nations was worth around $9 billion. Military and strategic ties between the two nations extend to intelligence sharing on terrorist groups and joint military training.
  • Israeli companies, led by government-owned aerospace giant Israel Aircraft Industries, have signed arms deals totaling over $2.6 billion so far in 2017 alone. India is IAI’s most important arms market.
  • As of 2014, India is the third-largest Asian trade partner of Israel, and tenth-largest trade partner overall. In 2014, bilateral trade, excluding military sales, stood at US$4.52 billion.
  • Total trade between the two countries was close to $4.2 billion in 2016. It’s a far cry from the $200 million, mainly diamonds according to the Indian embassy’s website, in 1992, when the two countries formally established relations amidst Israeli-Palestinian peace moves.
  • Israeli businesses are also active in other fields in India including in agriculture, water and pharmaceuticals, but the arms deals remain the most eye-catching.
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