New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel, the first ever by an Indian Prime Minister, comes at a time when the two countries are celebrating 25 years of friendship, and collaborating in a spectrum of areas.
That the Middle Eastern nation has emerged as one of India’s major defence partners and weapons supplier after Russia and the US underscores during the period signifies the trajectory of bilateral relations.
PM Modi and his host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are expected to further bilateral ties in defence, space, agriculture, water conservation and sanitation, terrorism, trade in gems and jewellery.
India’s connection with Israel dates back to 1947 when it voted against the UN partition plan of Mandate Palestine in 1947.
Here’s a look at the timeline of India’s relationship with Israel:
■ 27 November 1947: The UN drafted a plan of partition of Mandate Palestine, which was approved by the UN General Assembly, but was rejected by most of the Arab world and also by the newly formed India.
■ 18 September 1950: India recognised Israel, but did not initiate diplomatic relations.
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■ October 29 1956: Israeli foreign minister Moshe Sharett visits India in the middle of the Suez crisis. This was on 1956, when the Israeli armed forces pushed into Egypt toward the Suez Canal after Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the canal in July of that same year, initiating the Suez Crisis. India was one of the mediators along with the US, the UK and Yugoslavia.
■ 1962: PM Nehru writes to Israeli PM Ben Gurion for help and arms and ammunition supply during the war with China. Israel responds which later becomes the basis for defence ties between the two countries.
■ 1977: Foreign minister Moshe Dayan visits India, and meets the then prime minister Morarji Desai. Moshe allegedly had a discussing with the PM pertaining to India’s relation with Pakistan.
■ 1992: Diplomatic ties between India and Israel were formally established by the Narasimha Rao government. Israel opened its embassy in New Delhi in February, marking the beginning of a new relationship between the two countries.
■ May 1992: India opened its embassy in Tel Aviv.
■ 1996: India acquired 32 IAI Searcher unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, from Israel.
■ December 1997: Israeli President Ezer Weizman led a 24-member business delegation to India. Weizman was the first Israeli head of state to visit India. He finalized a weapons deal involving the purchase of the Barak-1 vertically-launched surface-to-air missiles.
■ June 2000: Home minister L.K. Advani met the Israeli President Ezer Weizman in Tel Aviv to discuss various techniques employed by them to curb terrorism. In the same month, external affairs minister Jaswant Singh became the first Indian minister to visit Israel to meet Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. India and Israel set up a joint anti-terror commission.
■ September 2003: Ariel Sharon became the first Israeli PM to visit India. This was a controversial visit meant to institutionalize relations with India.
■ November 2016: Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visited India for six days. President Rivlin instantly connected with the Indian population as he tweeted in Hindi.
■ October 2015: President Pranab Mukherjee visited Israel to initiate deals on various collaborative projects on technology and culture.
■ January 2016: External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj arrived in Tel Aviv on a two-day visit to Israel, to boost bilateral ties.