PM Modi’s visit to Israel: What does the historic visit mean for India

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From 4 to 6 July, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Israel in the first official state visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the world’s only Jewish country. India and Israel have enjoyed a strong relationship with each other since 1992 but India has been hesitant with its ties with Israel due to India’s continued support for Palestinian statehood. The visit will mark an open declaration of India and Israel’s ties with each other.

That is about to change with PM Modi’s visit to Israel as the Prime Minister looks to take India-Israel relations beyond defence equipment deals. As such this visit is important for both India and Israel for a number of reasons.

Prime Minister Modi will be meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss and strengthen cooperation in several key areas including cyber security, water management, agriculture, education, and counter-terrorism.

Cyber Security

Ahead of the visit, Israeli PM Netanyahu has said that the cyber security will be one of the key areas that will be discussed with PM Modi. Israel has emerged as a hub for technology, especially cyber security. With greater need to secure the government’s digital assets, PM Modi will be keen to several Israeli technical expertise to build a similar digital network as Israel’s National Cyber Defence Authority, an organization that streamlines information sharing between the government, private sector and other organizations to protect from and combat cyber threats.

Water Management

60 percent of Israel’s land is desert and the rest arid and yet, Israel is an exporter of water to neighbouring states, especially Jordan. The key to Israel’s success has been its government’s national policies that promote water conservation through effective water management through a central water authority. PM Modi’s visit to Israel could lead to important deals being signed related to water management and conservation technologies and knowledge transfer.

Agriculture

With a large section of India’s population being employed in the agriculture sector, PM Modi will also be keen on Israel’s innovations in the field of agriculture. Israel has successfully developed technologies that increase crop yield and agricultural productivity. Deals with regard to the agriculture sector could form a major part of the Indian PM’s visit to Israel.

Counter-terrorism

India and Israel have been historic partners with regard to defence related sectors with defence equipment being a central part of that relation. While both governments have stated that defence would not be a central topic of discussion, it expected that the leaders would discuss expansions in cooperation on counter-terrorism between the two nations. The discussions with regard to counter-terrorism could include intelligence sharing as well as a commitment for joint assistance for counter-terrorism operations.

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