NEW DELHI: India and Israel will elevate their ties to a strategic partnership during Narendra Modi's visit of "unprecedented importance" to that country from July 4, the first ever by an Indian prime minister.
Announcing the three-day visit, the external affairs ministry said it will provide an impetus for deeper bilateral engagement in areas of mutual interest.
Interacting with a select group of journalists here, Israeli Ambassador Daniel Carmon said Modi's visit is of "unprecedented importance with bilateral ties going through changing paradigm and changed architecture where there is no zero sum game and commitments and good relations with both sides can be maintained without contradiction", in reference to India's ties with Israel and the Arab countries.
Modi will be received by his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu at the airport along with a "top protocol team" comprising Israelis from various fields including rabbis. This is a special gesture only accorded to the Pope or the US president, Carmon said. The Israeli prime minister will also host a dinner for Modi on July 4, the envoy said.
Netanyahu will accompany Modi to most of the events, including the community reception on July 5 after their official discussions during which the two leaders are expected to explore ways to enhance cooperation in key strategic areas. The two sides are also expected to sign number of agreements in the field of innovation, development, science and technology and space.
Apart from boosting co-operation in the water and agriculture sectors, the two sides will also discuss ways to strengthen people-to-people contact, air connectivity and investments.
During the visit, a deal with the Uttar Pradesh government is also likely to be signed to clean-up a patch of river Ganges apart from setting up of industrial research and development fund of USD 40 million, he said.
Modi, whose visit is aimed at commemorating 25 years of establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, will also pay homage to Indian soldiers at the Indian Cemetery in Haifa. Modi will also meet 26/11 Mumbai terror attack survivor Holtzberg Moshe, who was only two when he was saved by his Indian nanny Sandra Samuel. Moshe’s father Rabbi Gavriel and mother Rivkah were among eight Israeli nationals killed in the terror strike.
The Israeli embassy in a statement said the visit will also include high-level bilateral meetings and other various components which reflect the fabric of the Indo-Israeli relations. "This significant visit, the first of an Indian prime minister to Israel, takes place on the backdrop of marking 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel, and will further upgrade the ever growing partnership between the two countries," the embassy said.