New Delhi: National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval met Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his counterpart Brigadier General (retired) Jacob Nagel in Israel in order to lay groundwork for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit in July this year. Doval is on a two-day visit to Tel Aviv.
He left for Israel on February 28 and is expected to be back today. With this visit, Narendra Modi will become the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. The two nations are celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relations this year. India formally recognised Israel on September 17, 1950, after which, it established an immigration office in Bombay (now, Mumbai). This was later converted into a trade office and subsequently into a Consulate.
Embassies were opened in 1992 when full diplomatic relations were established. Since the upgradation of relations in 1992, defence and agriculture have been the main pillars of bilateral engagement. In recent years, ties have expanded to areas such as S&T, education and homeland security.
Political ties between the two countries are friendly. President Pranab Mukherjee visited Israel in October, 2015. Former Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Ezer Weizmann visited India in 2003 and 1997 respectively. There have been frequent ministerial level exchanges in the recent past.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited Israel in November, 2014, while the Israeli Agriculture and Defence Ministers visited India in January and February, 2015, respectively.