Narendra Modi becomes first Indian prime minister to visit Israel

July 4, 2017 10:30 pm
Indian Prime Minister has arrived in Tel Aviv on a three-day visit, becoming the first Indian premier to travel to the occupied territories.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Modi with an official ceremony at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
In brief speeches, the two premiers pledged to work together on issues including security, agriculture and energy. The two sides are expected to strike military and cyber security deals.
The Israeli regime, which faces growing international isolation, has portrayed the visit as a major diplomatic victory.
Modi is not scheduled to travel to Ramallah to meet Palestinian leaders during his stay as visiting dignitaries often do.
The visit is seen as a turning point in ’s position on Israel.
Several consecutive governments in New Delhi had traditionally supported the Palestinian statehood, shunning ties with Israel.
India and Israel have had diplomatic relations for 25 years. Ties between the two sides have become more “visible” since Modi became prime minister in 2014.
Modi’s trip comes weeks after India approved an arms deal with Israel worth $2 billion.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during his welcoming ceremony in the presence of his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu (not in frame) at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv on July 4, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

In recent months, the Indian prime minister has been pushing for military ties with Israel.
India is the world’s biggest importer of defense equipment, and Israel has become one of its major suppliers.
According to Israeli media reports, the two sides sign military deals averaging more than $1 billion a year.
The cooperation ranges from a jointly built air defense system to India buying drones, radar, cyber security and communication systems.
India has moved away from relying on traditional ally Russia for its military hardware.
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