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Ahead of historic Modi visit, Israel moves to strengthen ties with India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to work closely with the Trump administration, but obstacles soon emerged on issues such as trade and visas for Indians wanting to work in the United States
PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA (AFP)
Countries mark 25 years of diplomatic relations ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's historic visit

Israel's cabinet will vote Sunday to push through a package of measures intended to strengthen ties with India, as the two countries marked 25 years of diplomatic relations ahead of a historic trip to Israel by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Among the measures proposed include the establishment of a joint fund to encourage Israeli and Indian business cooperation, agreements permitting the filming of India's widely popular Bollywood films in Israel, efforts to promote growth in tourism, and a joint government project in the fields of water and agriculture.

Israel and India commemorated 25 years since establishing diplomatic ties on June 21, the same day that Israelis and the rest of the world marked International Yoga Day, declared a worldwide celebration of the Indian traditional practice by Modi in 2015.

Modi is set to visit Israel in July, in the first ever trip of its kind by an Indian premier.

AFP/MONEY SHARMA

Although there has been no official announcement of his visit so far, Modi told a rally last month that he was "soon going to Israel".

India has traditionally voiced its support for Palestinian statehood, initially shunning diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

The frost has thawed, however, in recent years, with India -- the world's biggest arms importer -- seeking closer defense ties with Israel, a top weapons exporter.

Israel and India inked a $630 million defense deal, which included supply of the Israeli-made Barak 8 air defense system to four Indian Navy vessels.

Modi met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during the latter's three-day state visit to India last month.

Comments

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Modi is definitely a major player in the developing new world order that is happening as these lines are written. His visit to Israel at this time will serve Bibi Netanyahu well, as will the strengthening of bilateral ties, between Israel and India. Time will tell if and how, this development will impact the "Peace Process" that Trump is promoting.

Lets see what happens.

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