NEW DELHI: Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is likely to visit India after their Parliament (Knesset) session gets over in June. Since it is a hung Parliament, managing a coalition requires the constant attention of the PM.
PM Bennett’s scheduled visit to India in April was called off at the last minute as he tested positive for Covid. His visit to mark 30 years of India-Israel ties was much awaited. A 150-member trade delegation was slated to accompany him, and bilateral agreements were expected to be announced and signed.
One of the most significant announcements would have been on the setting up of a manufacturing facility of semi-conductors in Bengaluru, where PM Bennett was expected to travel. Israeli chipmaker Tower Semiconductor (which was acquired by Intel for $5.4 billion) has been keen on setting up a manufacturing facility in Bengaluru.
Israel has had a consulate in Bengaluru for over a decade now. Since half of Israel’s exports is around IT innovation, Bengaluru is a significant destination for them.
Former Israeli Ambassador to India Dr Ron Malka, who is now the Director General in Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry, was also expected to be a part of the delegation.
Dr Malka had spearheaded the India-Israel-UAE trilateral and this would have got a further boost. The sectors in which India and Israel are likely to collaborate include technology, agriculture and defence.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, called PM Bennett last evening and conveyed his wishes for a speedy recovery and also offered condolences for the loss of lives in the recent terrorist attacks in Israel.
Both the leaders had a detailed discussion on recent geo-political developments, including the situation in Ukraine. They also reviewed ongoing bilateral cooperation initiatives.
The Prime Minister conveyed his eagerness to welcome Bennett in India at an early date.
“Modi restarted relations between India and Israel, and this is of historic importance. The relations between our two unique cultures — the Indian culture and the Jewish culture — are deep, and they rely on deep appreciation and meaningful
collaborations,” PM Bennett had said sometime back.
Once the new dates are announced, all these significant bilateral projects would get a boost.