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Red carpet welcome awaits Modi in Israel: Terror, diamonds, agri on agenda

Israel's ambassador to India said the next 25 years of relations would be in focus

Agencies  |  New Delhi 

narendra, modi, PM
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's three-day tour of will start on Tuesday in what will be the first such visit to the country by an Indian prime minister. 

Ahead of his visit, Modi on Monday said his trip will bring the people of the two countries closer.

"I will be visiting on July 4-6 on the invitation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," Modi said in a pre-departure statement posted on his Facebook page.

"As the first Indian Prime Minister to do so, I am greatly looking forward to this unprecedented visit that will bring our two countries and people closer," he said, adding that this year, both countries were marking 25 years of diplomatic relations.

Speaking about the prime minister's visit, Israel's Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon said,"During this visit, we will look to the next 25 years of the relationship."

PM Modi said he would have in-depth talks with Netanyahu "on the full spectrum of our partnership and strengthening it in diverse fields for mutual benefit".

"We will also have the chance to discuss major common challenges like terrorism," Modi added.

He also said he would meet leading Indian and Israeli CEOs and start-ups "to discuss our shared priority of expanding business and investment collaboration on the ground.


 

Common front against terrorism

Describing as a global menace, Modi said that New Delhi and Tel Aviv can "cooperative even more closely" in battling terror.

Speaking to the newspaper Hayom in an interview, the prime minister said that his three-day visit to had its own significance and would further strengthen bilateral ties.

Asked if and India were facing the same threat of terrorism, Modi replied: "is a global menace. India and are not immune to it either. We are in full agreement that elements which perpetrate violence on innocent people should not be allowed to flourish.

"Cross-border is a major challenge for us. Divisive forces across our border are trying to disrupt the unity of our nation. These troublemakers often misuse religion as a tool to misguide youth in our country and our regions," Modi said, adding, "should not be equated with any particular religion. India and could cooperate even more closely and complement each other's efforts to fight with the menace of "

Modi was also asked if his visit was a reset or an upgrade in India-relations.

"My visit has its own significance... I am confident (it) will lead to further strengthening of our relations in different areas and also open up new priorities for cooperation," replied the prime minister.

Agriculture, water management and diamonds on the agenda
 
However, the trip is not all about security ties between the two nations.

As reported earlier, diamond trade and investments into agriculture, irrigation sector may prove to be bigger talking points for India rather than defence during Modi's visit.

The three-day visit is widely expected to hinge on greater cooperation in bilateral defence ties owing to India's position as the largest purchaser of Israeli arms and defence technology.

However, India will also push hard to increase trade and investments with the nation which have remained static in spite of greater connections between the private sector in both countries in recent years.

A joint business council has also been created for the first time which is looking at expanding the scope of bilateral trade, Pankaj Patel, President of industry body Ficci said.

While nearly all industries are covered as part of discussions, irrigation, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, infrastructure and IT enabled sectors are the focus, he added.

Apart from trade, agriculture and water management are other areas of focus between the two nations that are expected to be discussed during the trip.

"We are continuously working to diversify and strengthen our bilateral cooperation besides exploring new avenues of cooperation," B Bala Bhaskar, Joint Secretary (West Asia and North Africa) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said while briefing the media here ahead of Modi's visit.

He said that has expressed its "great willingness" over the last three years to participate in India's flagship initiatives like Make in India, Clean Ganga, Smart Cities and Digital India.

Stating that there has been cooperation going on in the agriculture sector, he said: "With the help of we have established centres of excellence in various states aimed at increasing productivity, crop management, and water management ."

According to Indian Ambassador to Pavan Kapoor, India can draw many lessons from Israeli in water management.

Speaking to public broadcaster Doordarshan, Kapoor said that Israel, which used to be a water-deficit country, is now a water-surplus country and actually exports water to its neighbour Jordan.

"They have through a very strong policy of water conservation, of water pricing, of increasing water supply and tremendous use of water for recycling and reuse, achieved this," he said.

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