Water cements India-Israel ties

In a special gesture, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will receive Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he arrives at the Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday on a three-day visit to the country.Till now this gesture has only been accorded to US presidents, including President Donald Trump recently and the Pope. As Modi embarks on this historic visit, there will be a keen watch on whether India will gain from openely joining hands with Israel or will it be at a loss by not giving enough importance to Palestine.”We believe in a two-state solution in which both Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist peacefully”, Mr. Modi said in an interview to Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom.When Ariel Sharon became the first Israeli prime minister to visit India in 2003, Atal Bihari Vajpayee gifted him a set of copper plates given by the local rulers of Kodungallur to Jews who came to trade on the Malabar coast as long back as 379 CE. Israel has emerged as India’s third largest arms supplier, behind Russian Federation and the United States as New Delhi spends billions of dollars on a modernization program for its armed forces.Israel, the United States and Russian Federation are India’s top military suppliers, and Modi’s government has said it will favour countries that are ready to share technology.India established diplomatic ties with Israel in 1992. The visit will take place July 4th-6th, and will include a call on the Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin, and a working meeting and dinner with the Israeli Prime Minister. Even before these ties were formalised, Congress led government had approached Israel for military know how during the 1962 war with China, 1965 war and in 1971 with Pakistan. Modi will sign few agreements in the fields of innovation, science development etc. “This is a turning point”, he said, adding, “my visit to Israel at this time will not harm a single person in India”.Terming Modi, as “one of the most important prime ministers of the world”, Netanyahu had said that the Indian leader wants close cooperation with Israel in cyber security.The Global Times further quotes Zongyi, as saying that Prime Minister Modi was the fifth foreign leader that Trump spoke with over the phone since being sworn in as USA president on January 20, but Trump’s face-to-face meeting with Modi came after his meetings with over 20 heads of state.Modi is also expected to discuss terrorism and cooperation in counter-terrorism operations while in Israel.Israel’s 50-year occupation of the West Bank and failure to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians have been major stumbling blocks in its efforts to boost relations with certain foreign countries. Netanyahu also spelled this out during his address at the Tel Aviv University.Before the visit, the Ministry of External Affairs ministry in New Delhi said it will provide an impetus for deeper bilateral engagement in areas of mutual interest, as per PTI.Moreover, in the global press, the increasing clamour for equating Palestine with Kashmir is also pushing India under Modi to become slightly more tightlipped about the former.