India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on Tuesday (July 3, 2017) became the first ever Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. His three- days historic visit is aimed at strengthening the 25 years old warm diplomatic ties with Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted Modi at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, on his groundbreaking visit that is expected to boost strategic bilateral partnerships in areas of defense, economy, agriculture, water, energy, security and space technology. Netanyahu was quoted as saying that “(he) would accompany the prime minister at many events during his visit as befits the leader of the largest democracy in the world.” It is being said that the welcome given to his Indian counterpart was at par with that given to US Presidents.
Netanyahu openly expressed his happiness on the visit of the first sitting Prime Minister of India and hinted at the warm welcome with an honor guard as being more than mere diplomatic protocol when he said "We receive you with open arms. We love India. We admire your culture, we admire your history, your democracy, your commitment to progress…we've been waiting for you for 70 years."
It is widely speculated that the National security advisor Ajit Doval paved the path for PM’s landmark visit to Israel. It is seen as a direct result of the multi-billion-dollar defence deals. Delegation-level talks between the two countries on measures to counter terrorism and enhance cooperation in sharing intelligence reports are also planned and expected to be a major highlight of the visit. Israel has been a constant and strong security partner of India since the late 1990s and provides complex missile technologies and ammunition for the armed forces.
The economic relations between the two countries is also thriving with the bilateral trade figure currently standing at $4.16 billion. On this visit, Modi is scheduled to meet many of the top- notch Israeli CEOs and business tycoons and may utilize it as an opportunity to encourage them to invest and set up production in India under the “Make in India” scheme.