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Israel paves way for PM’s first visit

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will be visiting India soon in mid-November, a visit that is likely to be keenly-watched and which is expected to set the stage for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel next year. Israel has been India’s strong defence partner and has sold it advanced weaponry worth billions of dollars in the past more than a decade. The visit is taking place after President Pranab Mukherjee visited Israel last year. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also expected to visit India later after the expected visit of PM Modi to Israel takes place next year.

Eyebrows have been raised on why PM Modi has not visited Israel so far despite being in power for more than two years and having made official visits to several countries. The ruling BJP has always been a votary of strong ties with Israel which had been thrilled with PM Modi’s rise to power at the Centre over two years ago. PM Modi has visited several countries in west Asia, including Israel’s arch-enemy Iran, but has not yet visited Israel. But speculation is rife that the visit will definitely take place sometime next year.

Israeli President Rivlin is expected to deliver an address in the capital during his visit on 25 years of Indo-Israeli partnership after India had established diplomatic ties with Israel in the early 1990s. India has, however, since its Independence been a strong votary of the Palestinian cause and has been doing a tight-rope act to ensure that its ties with both the Palestinians and Israel remain strong and on course.


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