Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to India in January to further build on ties between the two nations in defence, security, agriculture and other key areas.
His trip to India will take place six months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a highly successful visit to the Jewish nation. This was the first-ever visit by an Indian PM to Israel.
In fact, Modi broke away from the past and visited only Jerusalem and did not stop over in Palestine as had been traditionally done by any Indian leader visiting the region.
Netanyahu would be the first Israeli PM to visit India since Ariel Sharon who came here in 2003. Sharon’s trip ~ the first-ever of an Israeli leader to the country ~ was cut short by a terrorist attack in Israel.
Modi had publicly invited Netanyahu to visit India “at a mutually convenient time,” during a 5 July press conference in Jerusalem.
Over the past three-and-a-half years, Netanyahu and Modi have met on quite a few occasions and established a personal rapport between them.
At the UN General Assembly meet last month, Netanyahu paid glowing tributes to his friendship with Modi. Recalling the Indian leader’s July visit to Israel, he said, “We were on a beach in Hadera. We rode together in a jeep outfitted with a portable desalination device that some thriving Israeli entrepreneur invented. We took off our shoes and waded into the Mediterranean and drank seawater that had been purified only a few minutes earlier. We imagined the endless possibilities for Israel, India, for all humanity.”