In Historic First, India’s Modi to Visit Palestinian Territories
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the Palestinian territories during a four-day trip in February. He will be the first Indian prime minister to ever embark on such a visit.
According to an official statement, Modi will hold discussions on matters of mutual interest with Palestinian leaders, apart from participating in other events. Modi will also visit the United Arab Emirates and Oman during his trip.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was recently in India for a six-day visit in what he hailed as the beginning of a new era of friendship between the two nations. The Israeli premier’s visit came nearly six months after Modi visited Israel in what he similarly hailed as a historic visit.
Modi became the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel in July of 2017. Netanyahu personally toured Modi around the country showing him advances in Israeli water technology.
Netanyahu and Modi recently revised a multi-million dollar missile deal that had been in doubt in recent months. In a bid to heighten the anti-tank capabilities of its ground forces, India issued a call for bids for thousands of anti-tank missiles, which was awarded about three years ago to Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. Rafael committed to providing 8,000 Spike missiles (the international version of the Gil missile used by the Israeli army), with a range of four kilometers.
The total value of the original deal exceeded $600 million. The missiles would be manufactured by Rafael in India, in cooperation with two local companies. Rafael outbid a French firm (which dropped out relatively early) and the American Lockheed Martin, whose Javelin missile has a range of only 2.5 kilometers. The final agreement with India was yet signed.