Modi in Israel

Indian premier's visit signals increasingly confident engagement with the Middle East.

Narendra Modi made history in the first week of July as the first sitting Indian prime minister to visit Israel. The visit reflects the rapidly growing warm ties between the two democratic nations, as they seek greater cooperation on a range of issues including trade, defence, tourism, agriculture and water technologies.

In the lead-up to the visit, Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu penned a joint op-ed article in which they wrote: "The deep connection between our peoples reflects our many similarities in spirit, if not in size. Ours are two modern, vibrant democracies that draw on our rich historical traditions while striving to seize the promise of the future for our peoples."

The two nations also face common challenges including the threat of terrorism and undemocratic neighbours. As Netanyahu told Modi in Jerusalem, while referencing Modi's beloved yoga: "When I do a relaxing talasana pose in the morning and I turn my head to the right, India is the first democracy that I'll see. And when Prime Minister Modi does a relaxing pose of vasistasana and he turns his head to the left, Israel is the first democracy that you can see."

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