Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu arrived at Delhi on January 14 for a six-day trip with a high-profile 130 businessmen’s delegation and Indian PM Modi set aside all the ministerial protocols and went ahead to receive and welcome his Israeli ‘friend’ at the airport. India and Israel are emerged with the optimism and expectations from this historic trip.
The enthusiasm and optimism regarding Netanyahu’s trip to India is understandable, not because this is the first time Israeli prime minister has visited India in years, but because of the recent diplomatic developments. Relations between India and Israel have always been complicated and somehow India has always kept the relations with the Jew nation to be low-key and under the radar. However, PM Modi made a historic visit to Israel and became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel and developed close relations with the country and its state head. However, less than a month earlier, India voted against Israel in the UNGA developing a silent diplomatic stir between both nations. But Netanyahu’s trip to India brings in optimism and a hope to stronger ties between both nations.
PM Modi, on Sunday went ahead and broke all protocols to receive his Israeli friend to India at the airport; and then there was the famed “Modi-bear-hug” right when Netanyahu arrived. This shows India’s inclination towards underlining better relations with nations which can help in forging and bolstering its national interests, regardless of the global geopolitics. On receiving a high-profile delegation of 130 businessmen from 102 Israeli companies, New Delhi sees this trip to be a foundational for cementing progress in key areas like defence, trade, R&D, tourism and agriculture.
Today, Netanyahu will receive a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. During six days, Netanyahu along with his wife, will visit a number of places including Taj Mahal in Agra, Ahmedabad in Gujarat as well as Mumbai and would together bring relations between the two countries to “new heights”. In a historic statement, Netanyahu called India to be a ‘world superpower’ and that whenever he looks to the east back at home, the first democracy he sees is India. There is a lot more to come in six days, but for now, the optics of a bonhomie should serve as a hope for both India and Israel.