PM Narendra Modi’s first Israel visit a ‘formal coming out’ of relationship: Envoy

During the visit, the Prime Minister will also meet 10-year-old Moshe and his grandparents, and part-time nanny Sandra, who had saved the boy during the 26/11 attacks on Chabad House in Mumbai.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | Jerusalem | Updated: July 3, 2017 9:58 am
narendra modi, narendra modi israel visit, modi israel visit, israel pm, benjamin netanyahu, india news Indian Ambassador to Israel Pavan Kapoor. Shubhajit Roy

Forty-eight hours before Narendra Modi lands in Tel Aviv for the first ever visit to the country by an Indian Prime Minister, Indian Ambassador to Israel Pavan Kapoor Sunday described the occasion as the “formal coming out of the relationship” between the two countries. “This is the formal coming out of the relationship…the visit is a milestone, by itself,” Kapoor told The Indian Express. Speaking at his modest office overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Tel Aviv, Kapoor said that the Prime Minister will arrive in Israel Tuesday with a clear message: “We are here to partner with you.”

The visit is expected to focus on terrorism and counter-terrorism cooperation, with Modi scheduled to stay at the historic King David hotel in Jerusalem, about 70 km from Tel Aviv. However, Kapoor emphasised that the visit would focus on “development”, and that the agenda includes “agriculture, water, science and technology, and innovation”.

To drive home the point, Modi will be heading to an agriculture farm soon after landing in Tel Aviv Tuesday afternoon. “He will be shown innovative technology…what Israel calls ‘precision agriculture’. The idea is to use technology efficiently so that crop yield and productivity is high,” said Kapoor.

Modi will also be shown water management, treatment and purification technologies. “There is lot to learn from Israel, when it comes to water management. This is a country, which was water-deficit and is now water-surplus. It sells water to Jordan,” Kapoor said.

While innovation and technology is one of the key areas of the relationship, the two sides will also discuss defence and counter-terrorism cooperation. “All items are on the agenda, including counter-terrorism,” said Kapoor. But official sources said that no defence deals are expected to be signed during the visit, since it is an “ongoing process”. Bala Bhaskar, joint secretary in charge of India’s relations with Israel, described defence deals as a “cumbersome exercise”, which requires negotiations between technical experts.

During the visit, the Prime Minister will also meet 10-year-old Moshe and his grandparents, and part-time nanny Sandra, who had saved the boy during the 26/11 attacks on Chabad House in Mumbai.

The Prime Minister will also address the Indian community here in an event that is expected to be attended by around 4,000 people. Also on the Prime Minister’s itinerary, said officials, is an interaction with the student community in Israel, mainly from the agriculture, chemistry and biology streams.

Asked about his expectations from the visit, Prof Joseph Klafter, president, Tel Aviv University, said, “I hope it will further boost the already strong educational and research ties between our two countries. The India-Israel relationship is poised to become broad, inclusive and influential, and I view cooperation in higher education as the bridge for that.”

Klafter said, “I am convinced that we can do a great deal more to deepen research ties. I’d like to see our respective governments and business communities pour more resources into India-Israel scientific cooperation and exchange. Support is especially vital for shared priority fields such as food security, water, precise agriculture, cyber and IoT, biomed and communications. Joint R&D will help drive innovation and enhance the knowledge economies in both countries.

Klafter also said that the visit would be a “tremendous opportunity” for faculty and student exchange, and for bringing more Indian students, PhD candidates and post-docs to Israeli universities. “Our Indian student population at Tel Aviv University has quadrupled over the last few years and each graduate who goes home to India expands and extends our bilateral friendship in an outstanding ripple effect,” he said.

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  1. V
    vijayhemas
    Jul 3, 2017 at 5:02 pm
    Longlive INDOISRAEL PARTNERSHIP, the natural allies, now INDIA started recognizing the real allies, we can take this relationship to exceptional level in the field of counter terrorism, defense, science, education. Fight the allmightys with the knowledge level.
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    1. M
      Malkit Singh Rehnsi
      Jul 3, 2017 at 4:06 pm
      Please read as President of America and wrongly typed as President of India . This is typegraphical mistake
      Reply
      1. M
        Malkit Singh Rehnsi
        Jul 3, 2017 at 4:04 pm
        Why we are not making friendship with China which is our prosperous neighbourer. We must settle if there is any boundary dispute and discuss other problems on the table. Lien to much towards America is not in the interest of our nation . America is supplier of arms and ammniation in Asia and fighting for its own interest on the name of terrorism and America"s interest in their top priority. Mr. Trump is totally unpredictable President of India and in America itself he is facing strong opposition. Pakistan is also our neighbour but our relations have been spoiled due to Kashmir issue. Nepal is also showing red cyes. Where we have gne wrong. All efforts should be done settle the Kashmir issue once for all with Pakistan.
        Reply
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          Bert Brech
          Jul 3, 2017 at 2:32 pm
          Shalom, Israel ! You are a brave country much admired in India. We have so many lessons to learn from you ! It is good to see India maturing at last and realising who are its real friends.
          Reply
          1. M
            MyTake
            Jul 3, 2017 at 2:21 pm
            India is slowly coming out of its teen age years!
            Reply
            1. V
              vatsal
              Jul 3, 2017 at 12:11 pm
              Shalom. Greetings to the people of the promised land on the ocasion of visit of NAMO. Greetings to the heroic people. Greetings to the great defenders of faith. Greetings to the great (but diminutive country) who chose to stand up to the marauding neighbours. "swadharme nidhanam Shreyaha" (as in Srimad Bhagawad Gita).
              Reply
              1. A
                Asish
                Jul 3, 2017 at 1:40 pm
                All the IITs should have a sister University in Israel. We should make it mandatory especailly in Computer Engineering and Computer Science for all PhD doing in India to have an outside examiner coming from Israel. Also it becomes essential that students be encouraged at IIT to take over the Internet courses with Israel Universities as well as Students travelling to Israel for a period to work on the research teams there. We should integrate this into one single education society. As a country India we have to learn a lot from them and as Nietzsche said "Jews are the cornerstone of bringing thought into the Europe by preserving the Greek legacy of Knowledge" We should also earn fruits from these wonderful people.
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                  Asish
                  Jul 3, 2017 at 2:27 pm
                  Outside examiner is now possible through Video Chat as Professor can attend it from his own university and accept or reject a Phd. This will allow some useful and valuable PhDs to grow in India.
              2. M
                mimi sur
                Jul 3, 2017 at 12:08 pm
                We should learn from Israel and Russia to deal with Islamic terrorists .
                Reply
                1. K
                  kjingar
                  Jul 3, 2017 at 10:39 am
                  India and Israel are natural partners. So its time to get best out of it.
                  Reply
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