PM Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Indian PM Narendra Modi met at the UN Climate Change Conference outside Paris, Nov. 30, 2015. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO) (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO)
Netanyahu Modi

Narendra Modi will make history in July when he becomes the first Indian prime minister to visit the Jewish state. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make a historic visit to Israel this summer, the first by a sitting Indian prime minister, and will reportedly not visit the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership in Ramallah.

“Contrary to expectations that Modi would include Palestine in his itinerary too, like many ministers did in the past, he will be traveling only to Israel,” the Times of India reported, noting that the move underscores the “de-hyphenation” of India’s relations with Israel and the Palestinians.

The PA’s envoy to India, Adnan Abu Alhaija, said he was “shocked” by Modi’s decision to skip Ramallah visit, but that PA head Mahmoud Abbas will likely visit India before Modi’s Israel trip.

“Mr. Modi is not visiting Palestine on this occasion. Inshallah (by Allah’s will), our president will be here this year,” Alhaija told the Times of India.

Modi is expected to visit Israel on his return from the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, during the second week of July.

The Indian government said it believes the standalone visit to Israel will further “underline the significance of India’s special ties with the Jewish nation.” The visit will mark 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two allies.

Israel and India enjoy the sharing of technological development, and India is one of Israel’s biggest clients in the defense technologies market. In 2013, India was Israel’s 10th-largest trading partner and its third-largest in Asia, after China and Hong Kong.

Relations between the two countries have warmed up considerably in recent years, especially since Indian Modi took office.

Netanyahu and Modi met at the UN in September 2014, the first such meeting in over a decade. “We’re very excited by the prospects of greater and greater ties with India. We think the sky is the limit,” Netanyahu stated afterwards.

The relationship was given a further boost during the visit of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee to Israel in 2015 and the reciprocal visit of President Reuven Rivlin to India this past December.

“Today, the Government of Israel is in the process of finalizing an initiative which will promote and fund programs that will ensure the continued enhancement and expansion of our mutual cooperation,” the foreign ministry stated.

The Government and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are promoting joint business ventures, agricultural programs, tourism and other joint projects. The Foreign Ministry will also be spearheading a special program to bring young Indian leaders to Israel, from multiple fields of interest, in order to learn what Israel has to offer and to realize the potential for cooperation and collaboration.

Israel’s latest venture in India was the launching of a unique campaign to boost tourism to Israel.

By: and United with Israel Staff

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