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PM Modi to visit Israel this summer

Ashok Tuteja/SNS | New Delhi |

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's much-awaited visit to Israel will take place this summer, coinciding with the celebrations of 25 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the countries.

Official sources said the two countries were in touch to finalise the dates of the PM’s visit, which would take place in June-July. This would be the first visit by an Indian PM to the Jewish nation.

The two countries on Tuesday launched the year-long celebrations to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations. Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon and Amar Sinha, Secretary (Economic Relations) in MEA jointly unveiled a logo on the occasion at a function here.

Talking highly about the growing India-Israeli relationship, Carmon announced that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would also visit India this year or early next year.

Modi's visit, it is understood, is being anxiously awaited in Israel, given the "close chemistry" he has with his Israeli counterpart.

Relations between the countries have progressed at an unprecedented pace since the two countries established diplomatic relations but India has shied away from such high-level visits in the past.

However, the BJP-led governments have always accorded priority to India’s relationship with Israel. President Pranab Mukherjee visited Israel in October 2015 in what was the first such visit by an Indian Head of State to Israel. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin paid a reciprocal visit last year at Mukhejee's invitation.

Carmon said the two countries were today not only cooperating in defence and security fields but also in areas like water, agriculture, science and technology and food. ‘’It’s a unique relationship that we have with India,’’ he added.

The Indian official said everyone was aware of the defence and security ties between India and Israel but the two countries were now seeking to make the relationship multi-dimensional.