On July 5 and 6, PM Narendra Modi will become the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. Earlier Prime Ministers have been reserved about talking on Indo-Israel relations in order to appease a particular community in India. However, Modi government has shed the reservation of all the previous governments and has openly talked of promoting Indo-Israel relationship. On Tuesday, PM Narendra Modi wished the people of Israel on the festive season. Very soon, Benjamin Netanyahu retweeted Modi’s wishes and said, “Thank you, my friend, for your kind holiday greeting. The people of Israel eagerly await your historic visit.”
Thank you, my friend, for your kind holiday greeting. The people of Israel eagerly await your historic visit. https://t.co/Is1NmfWiMF
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) April 11, 2017
This would be the first visit by any Indian Prime Minister to Israel, and will herald a new era in the relationship between the two countries. The visit is aimed at increasing cooperation in various sectors, especially military, defense, trade and sharing intelligence information related to counter-terrorism. Israel is one of the largest suppliers of military hardware to India, worth about US $ 1.1 Billion annually.
Last week, India signed a $ 2 billion deal with Israel for procuring medium and long-range surface-to-air missiles. It is expected that two other major defense deals will be signed during PM Modi’s visit to Israel in July. These deals include the Spike anti-tank missiles for India’s army and Barak-8 air defense missiles for its navy. Once the deal is finalized, Israel will supply 8000 missiles over the next 2 years. The strengthening ties with Israel post 2014 is aimed at Narendra Modi’s push towards modernization of the defense force.
Despite being one of the most important strategic, military and trade partners, previous Prime Ministers of India did not visit Israel and were not vocal about Indo-Israel relation in order to appease a certain community, which always gets agitated at the slightest mention of Israel. Minority appeasement in previous governments had reached to such an extent that even foreign policies seemed to be influenced by it. However, with change in guard in 2014, things have completely changed and Modi has shed all the reservations of previous governments.