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Narendra Modi's visit to Israel: Underlining the old friendship between India & Israel in the grandest possible way
On Tuesday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was extended an unprecedented grand welcome on his first official visit to Israel. It's said that only the US president or the Pope of Vatican receive such salutations while visiting the last remaining bastion of Jews in the world.

But, according to experts, Indian Prime Minister's red carpet welcome was extraordinary and grander, even by Israel's high standards. Not only the Israeli government, but the Israeli media, as well as the general public also gave a hearty welcome to the Indian premier.

The point here is that it wasn't Narendra Modi, the individual who was accorded a grand welcome, but rather, the Prime Minister of a country comprising of one-sixth of the world's population. Besides, Narendra Modi has consolidated his image as a strong global leader.

What's also noteworthy is that it is not for the first time that Prime Minister Narenrda Modi has received such a warm welcome. In fact, he has been hosted with much grandeur by heads of almost all the countries he has visited in over two years of being in power. Be it Saudi Arabia, UAE, Russia, China or his more recent visit to Washington, DC, where he had a one-to-one meeting with American President Donald Trump, whose reputation of being an abysmal host precedes him.

Welcoming PM Modi at the airport, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu uttered in broken Hindi: "Aapka swagat hai mere dost" (You are welcome my friend).

He further said, "We waited for you for seventy years!" With this statement alone one can gauge the emotions of the Israeli establishment. USA might be an important ally of Israel and its protector to some extent, but Israel always sees India as a true friend from the historical perspective. India is a country which is home to all communities and perhaps the only country in the world where Jews have never faced any persecution. That's why, despite the policies of previous Indian governments, Israel seeks friendship with India.

India supported Palestine at the UN in 1948. Although, India gave recognition to the state of Israel in 1950, it didn't develop full diplomatic relations with the Jew-majority nation until 1992. India's compulsions were many. Foremost being India's policy of not annoying Arab nations that employ millions of Indian workers. Secondly, Nehru thought that by siding with Arab countries, India could gather support over the Kashmir issue. Also, some petty political concerns over issues related to minority appeasement too became pressing factors for later governments.

But Israel always knew that India was one of its truest friends. Despite no diplomatic relations, Israel helped India in 1962 Indo-China War and the 1965 Indo-Pak War. After the 1971 Indo-Pak War and the subsequent liberation of Bangladesh, Israel became the first country to give recognition to Bangladesh as an independent nation, even though its close ally, the USSR was reluctant to do so. During the 1999 Kargil War, Israel had sent a special contingent on a plane to help India.

Post 1992, although, many visits were exchanged between Indian and Israeli dignitaries, such trips mainly revolved around the Palestinian state. However, this time around things have shaped out differently due to de-hyphenation of Palestine. Some in India have even raised eyebrows and questioned this de-hyphenation.

Many experts feel that Modi's policy of getting close to Israel might prove counterproductive as it would annoy Arab countries, eventually resulting in isolation of India by the Arab world.

However, Narendra Modi's decision of openly displaying friendship with Israel and de-hyphenating Palestine can be well understood. Firstly, Arab countries have never supported India on Kashmir as was thought by Nehru. Secondly, except for Iran and Syria, all other Arab nations have friendly ties with Israel. So, why not to have friendly relations with Israel? Why not embrace Israel as our long standing friend? Besides, Israel has always proved to be a trusted ally for India.

The previous UPA government didn't send its Prime Minister to Israel thinking that Indian Muslims will get annoyed. But then, why would Indian Muslims care about what conspires in the Arab world?

Indian Prime Minister's visit to Israel is historic. An open friendship is going to help both countries in many ways. Apart from military and security, there are many other avenues where both countries can cooperate and succeed in developing their respective economies.

Israel might be a tiny nation, but is home to a brave, brilliant and innovative population credited for its unparalleled cutting edge technology. There is no bar for Israel on providing any type of technology to India. It should be remembered that Israel doesn't provide technological support to China despite Israel-China trade being more than double of the trade between India and Israel.

India and Israel are natural allies. Credit must go to Narendra Modi who has ended an era of hesitation. Let's hope for better friendship and closer partnership with Israel. The Israeli Prime Minister wishes to 'Make with India' matching with Narendra Modi's 'Make in India'.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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