Terming the upcoming visit of Pranab Mukherjee as a “historic milestone”, Israel has said the President’s three-day stay in the Jewish State will deepen the friendship and strengthen the bilateral ties between the two countries.
Mukherjee is scheduled to visit Israel from October 13 to 15 as part of his six-day-long trip to West Asia during which he would also be travelling to Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.
Israel is all set to to extend a warm welcome to Mukherjee with President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Speaker of the Knesset (parliament) Yuli Edelstein and opposition leader Isaac Herzog all scheduled to meet him to discuss issues of regional and bilateral interest.
“The upcoming visit of the President of India, more than being an important milestone in the relationship of the two countries, will serve to deepen the friendship between our states, in the fields of economy, science, medicine, and agriculture”, Rivlin said.
“I am looking forward to the meeting, which will represent one of the highlights of the relationship between the Israeli and Indian peoples,” he added.
In a rare gesture reflecting the warmth of the relationship enjoyed between the two countries, Mukherjee will also be addressing a special plenary meeting of the Israeli Knesset besides receiving an honorary doctorate from the prestigious Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The visit comes at a time of massive unrest in the region with clashes between Israeli security and Palestinians spreading further touching the central areas of Israel near the Tel Aviv region.
There has been a hype in the local media around Indo-Israel ties since the NDA government came to power with Netnyahu describing “sky is the limit” as the potential in bilateral cooperation between the two countries during a meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during a meeting in New York last year at the UN General Assembly.
The two leaders are said to be in constant touch and the Israeli media recently attributed India’s abstention at a vote on a resolution against Israel at the UNHRC to the developing chemistry between the two leaders.
In July, India abstained in a vote on a UN Human Rights Council resolution that backed a report critical of Israel’s behaviour during 2014 Gaza war, a move that was “shocking” to the Palestinians and an unprecedented “achievement” for Israel.
India later clarified that the vote was a “principled” stand and did not show any change in India’s voting behavioural pattern, an explanation to which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “understood and accepted”.