Israel and India to upgrade relations during historic Modi visit

Israel and India to upgrade relations during historic Modi visit

Narendra Modi will visit Israel today—a first for any Indian prime minister. A $2 billion deal for Israeli navy missiles

Photo: Israel PM's Office

Photo: Israel PM’s Office

Narendra Modi will visit Israel today—a first for any Indian prime minister. A $2 billion deal for Israeli navy missiles will headline the trip, But plans to strengthen India-Israel ties are set to go beyond mere military sales.

A look over the countries’ past ties reveals a mixed bag. Officially starting in the 1990s, India has been careful to maintain Israeli favour while trading openly with Israeli-opposed Arab nations. Tensions have arisen though, from India’s support for Palestinian independence. The Ambassador to Israel currently says Indian relations with both nations can remain separate.

But since Modi’s premiership, India has embarked on a less neutral Israel strategy. For example, past diplomatic visits to Israel have been complemented with visits to Palestine. However, India has already received President Abbas in May, giving reason to skip Palestine altogether on this trip. Positive ties with Israel are also viewed favourably by the US—a partnership Mr Modi reinforced last week.