A delegation from India’s foreign ministry is in Israel to discuss “strategic issues,” including the rapidly developing economic ties between the two countries.
A delegation from India’s foreign ministry, led by Secretary (East) Anil Wadhwa, visited Israel Tuesday for “strategic dialogue” on various issues. India has been steadily increasing ties with Israel under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and even abstained from last week’s UN vote to approve a biased report on Operation Protective Edge.
“This dialogue expresses the special relationship that developed” between the Israel and India‘s prime ministers,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “At the heart of the dialogue stand a number of bilateral topics, with an emphasis on diplomatic, economic and development issues.”
Wadhwa met with Dore Gold, the director-general of Israel’s foreign ministry. According to the statement, they were scheduled to discuss economic ties between Israel and India, including cooperation on tourism and agriculture.
Ties between India and Israel have boomed in the past several years, especially in the area of defense and military cooperation. Prime Ministers Netanyahu and Modi met at the UN last September, the first such meeting in over a decade. Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited Jerusalem in November, the highest-level diplomatic visit by an Indian official in Israeli history. In February, Moshe Ya’alon became the first Israeli defense minister to visit India. Modi is expected to visit Israel later this year.
India denied, however, that this increasing cooperation was behind its decision to abstain from an anti-Israel vote at the UN last Friday. India was one of five countries that abstained from a Human Rights Council vote approving a report criticizing Israel over Operation Protective Edge, including the bizarre claim that Hamas tunnels between Gaza and Israeli communities in the south were not constructed to carry out terrorism against civilians.
“Israel is our ally country but we have never let down the Palestinian cause. We support the Palestinian cause and will continue,” said Indian Foreign Minister Shrimati Sushma Swaraj.