Tel Aviv – As Prime Minister Modi makes a historic visit, Indo-Israeli ties poised to be reaching “ground-breaking” heights. Some historical perspective – India had voted against the partition of Palestine in 1947, followed by raising objection to Palestine’s induction as a UN member. Although India recognized the Jewish nation formally in 1950, it wasn’t until 1992 that full diplomatic ties were established. Since, Israeli representatives have visited New Delhi. But, President Mukherjee (2015) and Modi (current) were the firsts to reciprocate.
Modi was welcomed on the tarmac by Prime Minister Netanyahu and deputy chief of the Knesset. This was followed by a ceremony where the Israeli PM openly welcomed this newly found friendship. Watch full speech below.
Israel is a key bridge in shaping of Indian foreign policy and more specifically in Indo-American policy. Modi’s foreign excursions might draw criticism at home, but they are calculated and informed moves. Patching a severed relationship with Israel, shortly after striking an amicable cord with Trump shows a clear intent. Further, pivoting to a “non-security”-based partnership, as opposed to the earlier defense-based partnership with Israel that led to some frictions, shows adaptability and the inclination to work with the right partners.
Modi and Netanyahu displayed a clear sense of fondness and admiration for each other. They seemed particularly inspired by each others policies and initiatives as well. While Netanyahu left no stone unturned in voicing his ‘love’ for India, Modi went even further. During his address, he made a particularly touching reference, especially for Netanyahu. Modi recalled how Tuesday marked the 41st century of Jonathan Netanyahu (the PM’s brother) losing his life in a counter-terrorism operation. This struck a personal chord with the Israeli PM and a clear acknowledgement that India and Israel face similar threats, according to Netanyahu’s office.