Bolstering ties prez to visit Tel-Aviv

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NEW DELHI: India and Israel will aim to strengthen bilateral engagement and are likely to sign three MoUs in water, energy and education sectors during President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to the Jewish nation later this month, which will be first ever by an Indian Head of State.Noting that ties between the two countries are on an upswing, Israeli ambassador Daniel Carmon said Mukherjee’s visit will be a “landmark” one during which both sides will try to expand cooperation in a range of areas.

“For many years, our relationship was held under the carpet. Now, they are more visible and open where each side brings to the table each other’s advantages. We are so different, yet we are a combined force,” the envoy told PTI. India is Israel’s largest buyer of military hardware. Israel has supplied various weapons systems, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles over the last few years to India, but the transactions have largely remained behind the curtains.

“We are working together in the field of defense and agriculture and looking at ways to widen the partnerships in fields such as water, energy and education,” Mukherjee said. Asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed visit to Israel, he said, “Technically, I don’t think it will happen in 2015. The dates of the visit will be determined through diplomatic channels, and whenever the visit takes place it will be fruitful and significant to both countries.” Whenever Modi’s visit takes place, it will mark another major step in the growing partnership between the two countries, he said.

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