NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday for the first time spoke about his impending visit to Israel – a first by an Indian Prime Minister – thus stamping the official seal on the shift in Indian foreign policy.
Modi will be visiting Israel on July 5 and even as his itinerary has not been made public, he in all probabilities will be skipping Palestine during his visit.
The Prime Minister made the announcement of his visit to Israel during an event in Surat: “I am soon going to Israel, in fact, I'm the first Prime Minister to go to Israel, and I'm going there on your behalf. You have trading relations with that country.” Prime Minister Modi’s visit will be coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between the two countries.
The Narendra Modi-led government had indicated in 2015 that it will be revamping its foreign policy in the Middle East as it becomes at ease at openly courting the Jewish nation. This has been a tectonic shift as far as India’s balancing act vis-à-vis Israel and Palestine are concerned. New Delhi has been in-principle supportive of the statehood to Palestine and at the same time has strong defence ties with Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv has, in fact, welcomed the de-hyphenation between Israel and Palestine. (Israel has shifted its capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem but it is yet to be recognised by any country including India. The Indian Embassy in Israel is also located in Tel Aviv).
Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon in an interview to the Express earlier had said: “India and Israel during our low-key ties have developed relations in the field of development and defence. The relations are becoming more and more visible in the last few years. At the political level, the Indian narrative says we can have good relations with anyone. We are committed to Arab cause, we are committed to having a good relation with Israel.”