PM Modi taking a less travelled road, the first Indian Prime Minister visiting Israel

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Narendra Modi began his two nation tour starting from Israel today and he is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the state. The camaraderie between the two heads of the state was very obvious as soon as the two met and this set the mood of the visit. This tour has been rated as an important tour by experts for both Indian and Israel. Modi will hold discussions on all matters of mutual interest with his counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv. India and Israel are celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relation and both the leaders will also discuss major common challenges like terrorism.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the cross section of the Israeli society and also a large Indian diaspora which embodies a lasting association between the two countries. Modi will be meeting the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also. Modi will also attend a CEO meeting in which CEOs of companies from both the nations will take part to talk about their joint priority of growing the bilateral trade and investment. Prime Minister Modi visited the Indian cemetery in Haifa to pay respect to the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their life during the First World War. In the second leg of the tour, Modi will be visiting Hamburg in Germany to attend the 12th G-20 Summit.

The visit to Israel will have a lot of focus on defence ties and arms procurement. The two Prime Ministers will have some political and economic challenges also to be solved.  India and Israel face continued threats from Islamist terrorism and both the countries have common interest in areas of cyber security. Israel is badly in need of a market for its arms and India has been gluttonous for arms. New Delhi is the world’s second largest developing world arms buyer and at present is sourcing $ 1 billion worth of weapons systems from Israel. In the years before Israel was the third highest arm supplier to India and by 2016-17 has become the number one supplier beating Russia and United States of America. Israel Aerospace Industries have bagged contracts worth $2 billion from India for missile defence systems like medium range surface-to-air missiles (MR-SAM) and long range (LR-SAM) anti-ship missile defence systems also know as Barak 8. How will the world view this bold move of Narendra Modi is to be watched.