Doval in Israel to lay groundwork for Modi's visit

Indo Asian News Service

Tel Aviv/New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, who is visiting Israel, has met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lay the groundwork for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit this year, most likely in June.

Netanyahu's office tweeted a photo of his meeting Doval in Tel Aviv.

"PM Netanyahu met with Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval as part of the preparations for Indian PM @NarendraModi's visit to Israel," the tweet said.

Israeli envoy to India Daniel Carmon also tweeted about Doval's visit, terming it a "short but very important visit".

The upcoming visit of Modi, the first ever by an Indian Prime Minister to Israel, comes as both countries celebrate 25 years of diplomatic ties.

Modi's visit comes after Israeli President Reuven Rivlin's trip to India last November, which marked growing closeness between the two nations.

Rivlin was the first Israeli head of state to visit India in nearly 20 years. The last Israeli president to visit India was Ezer Weizman, in January 1997.

The Israeli President's visit followed that by President Pranab Mukherjee's Israel trip in 2015 -- which marked the highest level visit from India since 1992, since establishment of diplomatic ties by the P.V. Narasimha Rao government.

Signalling its warming relations with Israel, India had in July 2015 abstained from a vote against Tel Aviv in the United Nations Human Rights Council that blamed Israel for "war crimes" during Operation Protective Edge.

Since the upgradation of relations in 1992, defence and agriculture have been the main pillars of bilateral engagement, with other areas such as science and technology, education and homeland security also important areas of cooperation.

Some major defence deals are expected to be inked between the two sides during Modi's visit.