This Article is From Jul 05, 2017

Groundbreaking Visit Celebrates India-Israel Bond, Says PM Modi: 10 Facts

During PM Narendra Modi's trip to Israel, the two sides are expected to announce strategic partnerships in areas including water, agriculture and space technology.

PM Narendra Modi and Israeli Prime Minister at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem. (AFP)

Highlights

  • PM Modi in Israel for 3-day visit, first by an Indian prime minister
  • Will hold extensive talks on defence, security, agriculture and water
  • Receives red carpet welcome, big hug from PM Netanyahu at airport
TEL AVIV: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was received at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport on Tuesday evening by his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in a welcome at par with that given to US Presidents. The two leaders shook hands and hugged warmly. This is the first-ever visit to Israel by an Indian Prime Minister and Mr Netanyahu has announced that he will "accompany the Indian Prime Minister at many events during his visit as befits the leader of the largest democracy in the world".

Here is your 10-point guide to this landmark trip:

  1. PM Modi thanked Mr Netanyahu for the "tremendous welcome" and said "it is my singular honour to be the first ever PM of India to undertake this groundbreaking visit to Israel." He began his speech in Hebrew and said "a strong and resilient partnership with Israel would be my focus."

  2. Speaking first at the airport after receiving PM Modi, Mr Netanyahu said, "My friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Welcome to Israel," and in Hindi, "Aapka swagat hai mere dost." He also said, "We love India, we admire your culture, your democracy....We've been waiting for you for 70 years."

  3. PM Modi also struck a personal note, recalling the death of PM Netanyahu's elder brother in Operation Entebbe exactly 41 years earlier, on 4 July 1976. The PM's brother led the successful hostage-rescue mission by Israeli forces in Uganda where an Air France aircraft was taken by Palestinian hijackers. "Your heroes are an inspiration for the younger generations," the Indian Prime Minister said.

  4. PM Netanyahu recalled the Indian PM telling him at their first meeting in 2014 that "sky was the limit" for ties between the two countries. "But actually my friend, the sky isn't the limit," the Israeli PM said, pointing to space partnership between the two countries.

  5. Mr Netanyahu and PM Modi later visited the Danziger Flower Farm where a variety of white chrysanthemum was named "Modi", and the Yad Vashem memorial to honour the some six million Jews killed by Nazi Germany. Mr Netanyahu later hosted a private dinner in honour of PM Modi.

  6. Over the next three days, PM Modi and Mr Netanyahu will hold extensive talks to scale up cooperation. Under his signature "Make in India" scheme, PM Modi is expected to advance sales and production of missiles, drones and radar systems.

  7. The centerpiece of the collaboration is the Barak-8 air defence system, built jointly by the two countries in a boost for PM Modi's campaign to develop a domestic defence industry and reduce arms imports. The visit to Israel, already, India's top arms supplier, is being seen as historic not just for the pacts that will be signed but because this is the first time that New Delhi has, as one Israeli analyst put it, come out of the closet.

  8. India has traditionally been cautious in its dealing with Israel, partly because of an alleged wariness of upsetting Arab states and Iran, upon whom it relies for its vast imports of oil, as also its own large Muslim population. PM Modi will not travel to Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority and a customary stop for visiting leaders trying to maintain a balance in political ties.

  9. The shift in India's approach had started soon after the Narendra Modi government came to power in Delhi. PM Modi and Mr Netanyahu met on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2014, the first meeting of premiers of the two countries in over a decade. This is Narendra Modi's second visit to Israel; he had last travelled to the Jewish State as Gujarat Chief Minister in 2006.

  10. On July 5, PM Modi will also address Indians in Israel who have launched a website for his trip. About 80,000 Indian Jews belonging to four different communities - Bene Israel, Cochinis, Baghdadis and Bnei Menashe - live in Israel. The next day, PM Modi will travel to Hamburg for the G-20 Summit being hosted by Germany on July 7-8. The theme chosen for this year is 'Shaping an Inter-connected World'.