Top Indian Government Official: We Want to Expand Cooperation With Israel; Modi Likely to Visit Jewish State in June
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will likely visit Israel in June — marking the first-ever trip by an Indian prime minister to the country — to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, the Indian daily Mint reported on Wednesday.
At the New Delhi unveiling this week of an official logo celebrating the anniversary, Amar Sinha — the economic relations secretary in India’s Ministry of External Affairs — said, according to the Financial Express, that his country’s ties with Israel constituted a “very important contemporary relationship.”
“We are constantly trying to make it a more multi-dimensional relationship,” he went on to say. “We are exploring new areas of cooperation.”
Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon was quoted as saying, “From security to food security, energy to water, and academia, all are parts of cooperation between our two countries. Success stories in defense, agriculture and water are something we are very proud of.”
On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Jerusalem with Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. According to a statement released by Netanyahu’s office, the context of the meeting was Modi’s upcoming Israel trip.
The Israel-India relationship has flourished recently. Last November, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin traveled to India, just over a year after his Indian counterpart, President Pranab Mukherjee, visited Israel.
The defense field is an area of particularly close collaboration between Israel and India. Just last month, for example, it was reported that Modi had approved a $2.5 billion deal to acquire an Israeli aerial defense system for his country’s military.
Netanyahu and Modi met for the first time in New York City in September 2014 on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly gathering.
According to Mint, Netanyahu is expected to make a reciprocal visit to India by the end of next January. In 2003, the late Ariel Sharon became the first and so far only Israeli prime minister to travel to India.