A landmark moment: Narendra Modi will visit Israel at some point this year, becoming the first Indian Prime Minister to do so since the countries established diplomatic relations 23 years ago. The BBC:
[India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj] told reporters on Sunday that she will be travelling to Israel, Palestinian territories and Jordan later this year.
“As far as prime minister’s visit is concerned, he will travel to Israel. No dates have been finalised. It will take place as per mutually convenient dates,” she said.
The Israeli ambassador to India, Daniel Carmon, welcomed the announcement.
“High level visits between both countries… are a natural ingredient of tightening relationship between Israel and India,” Mr Carmon was quoted as saying by The Hindu newspaper.
As a rising power that wants stability in the region (as well as security for its energy supplies), as a power that is deeply concerned by rising Islamic extremism, and as a huge emerging market that is in many ways a natural compliment to Israel’s economy, India has a significant role in the future of the Middle East. For Israel, Modi’s visit serves as a reminder that Europe isn’t everything when it comes to diplomacy and public opinion.
India-Israel defense cooperation and trade are already flourishing; expect the trend to continue and probably ramp up a fair bit more more following Modi’s visit.