PM Modi’s Upcoming Israel Visit Described as ‘a Significant Milestone’

July 03, 2017

New Delhi: Describing the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel as historic, Ambassador Shyam Saran, today expressed hope that the visit would have a significant impact on taking forward the diplomatic and strategic ties between the two nations.

Ambassador Saran was speaking at a discussion organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) on the eve of Prime Minister Modi’s three-day visit to Israel, celebrating 25 years of bilateral diplomatic relations, on July 3, 2017. A special issue of Strategic Analysis, the bi-monthly journal of IDSA, on ‘India-Israel Relations at 25’, edited by Director General, IDSA, Shri Jayant Prasad and Associate Fellow S. Samuel C. Rajiv was also launched.

Speaking on India–Israel Defence and Security Ties, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne (Retd), observed that India–Israel interactions over the past seven decades reflect instances of congruence of interests shaping a mutually beneficial partnership. He added that defence ties are not limited to a buyer-seller relationship but involve co-development and co-production projects.

Professor P.R. Kumaraswamy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, observed that cooperation in the fields of agriculture and water management, among others, has emerged as the principal tool in the promotion of Indo-Israeli relations. He also flagged the active Israeli engagement with various state governments as significant.

Also speaking on the occasion, Professor Efraim Inbar of Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv, hoped that the upcoming visit of the Indian Prime Minister would elicit greater cooperation and trust between the two nations. He believes that further interaction between the diaspora of both the countries, particularly in the United States, will be mutually beneficial.

Assessing the US influence over India–Israel relations, Dr Nicolas Blarel of Leiden University, The Netherlands, said that while US involvement has been constant, it has neither been consistent nor direct. The US factor in India–Israel relations has evolved over time, depending on the personalities, political constellations in power in India, and regional developments in West Asia.

Samuel Rajiv in his presentation drew attention to aspects of the Israel-China relationship, given that both countries are also celebrating 25 years of their diplomatic ties. He noted that while the two countries were pursuing a ‘comprehensive innovation partnership’, their relationship in the areas of security cooperation and defence production and supply were limited due to US opposition to such cooperation.

Earlier, Director General, IDSA, Shri Jayant Prasad in his welcome remarks said that India’s burgeoning relationship with Israel added ballast to the India-US relationship as well. Despite being located in tangled neighbourhoods, India and Israel adopted a ‘push-ahead’ attitude to take the relationship forward. India–Israel relations ties have developed well, pushed by a rapid expansion of defence ties.