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Deals Lie behind India’s Shifting Stance in Supporting Israel | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv. (AFP)

Tel Aviv – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off Tuesday a three-day visit to Tel Aviv, described by the Israeli authorities as “historic” for being the first visit of an Indian Prime Minister to Israel since its establishment.

The visit is also marked a change in the stance of New Delhi, which is currently interested in inking important arms deals with Israel, in addition to strengthening the two countries’ relationship in a range of areas, including economy and technology.

At the start of his trip, Modi said cooperation between his country and Israel could “change the image of the world.”

For his part, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he seeks to enhance his country’s ties with India.

“The visit attests to the fact that our relations with India became closer. This visit will deepen cooperation in a range of areas – security, agriculture, water, energy, almost every field in which Israel is engaged,” Netanyahu said.

Modi’s plane landed late on Tuesday afternoon in Tel Aviv where Netanyahu welcomed him before the two men embraced warmly.

The two sides are also set to announce strategic partnerships in areas including water, agriculture, space technology and mainly defense.

During the historic visit to Tel Aviv, Modi will sign seven cooperation agreements, including deals to counter terrorism and increase cooperation in sharing of intelligence in this regard.

Contrary to worldwide leaders visiting Israel, Modi is not scheduled to visit Ramallah, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority. By this gesture, the Indian prime minister has chosen to ignore calls from inside India and that accused him of failing to protect a balance in his political relations.

However, Modi said that his country’s position towards the Palestinian issue has not changed.

Later during his stay in Tel Aviv, Modi will meet with President Reuven Rivlin.