“My visit marks a path-breaking journey of engagement,” India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his hosts on his arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport on July 4, 2017, opening a new era in relations between one of the world’s smallest democracies and its largest one.
For decades, India and Israel had no diplomatic relations, but over the last 25 years, strong economic and military ties have developed between the two nations. Yet it was only with Modi’s visit that these relations finally stepped out into the full light of day.
“Israel is a real friend,” Modi said. “I have really felt that feeling of kinship. I feel absolutely at home here.”
As India’s “Economic Times” put it in a wide-ranging analysis, Modi’s visit “simultaneously redefined India’s external self, and vindicated Israel’s identity. … Banished are the overcautious, hypocritical and domestically poisoned lenses for approaching Israel, and ushered in are bold, dispassionate and objective ways of handling this key West Asian power.”
One manifestation of the closer relationship has been at the UN, where India’s voting pattern has shifted away from being automatically in the anti-Israel camp. Also, more and more business is being done between Israeli and Indian companies and tourism numbers are skyrocketing. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.)