NEW DELHI: PM Narendra Modi‘s upcoming visit to Israel in July, the first by an Indian Prime Minister, will not see him travelling to Palestine, a decision that underscores the “de-hyphenation” of India’s relations with the two West Asian states.
Modi’s visit, billed as historic, is a significant step in openly embracing a relationship that his predecessors fostered while avoiding public displays. Contrary to expectations that Modi would include Palestine in his itinerary too, like many ministers did in the past, he will be travelling only to Israel.
In a balancing act though, India is likely to host Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before Modi sets off for Israel. “Mr Modi is not visiting Palestine on this occasion. Inshallah, our President will be here this year,” Palestinian ambassador to India Adnan Abu Alhaija confirmed to TOI.
The delicate reworking of ties between the two states has seen India set up a joint commission co-chaired by minister of state for external affairs M J Akbar. The cooperation is expected to lead to the setting up of a tech park in Ramallah. During Akbar’s visit to Palestine last year, Tel Aviv was informed that a visit to Israel was not a necessity either.
Modi is expected to visit Israel on his way back to India from the G20 summit in Hamburg in the second week of July. The government believes a standalone visit to Israel would further underline the significance of India’s special ties with the Jewish nation. This year, the two countries mark the 25th anniversary of full diplomatic relations.
Acknowledging the fact that Modi and his government have been much more open about New Delhi’s engagement with Tel Aviv, Israel’s ambassador to India Daniel Carmon told TOI on Thursday that “high visibility” to ties was leading to more activities between the two nations. In a departure from past policy, the NDA government has looked to bifurcate its relations with Israel and Palestine.
Source: Times of India