Indian warship makes port call in Israel

Indian warship makes port call in Israel

After four years, an Indian naval warship INS Trikand has made a port call in Israel on Wednesday seeking to boost the bilateral cooperation in military affairs.

The warship's arrival in Haifa assumes significance as it happens ahead of the first planned visit by an Indian President to the West Asian nation.

President Pranab Mukherjee is likely to travel to Tel Aviv in a few months, though the dates have not yet been finalised. To prepare the ground, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will fly down to Israel next month. Recently Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had visited Israel.

In May, Swaraj stated that Narendra Modi would be the first Indian Prime Minister to travel to Israel, but that won't change India's policies towards Palestine.

 “The prime minister would be visiting Israel. But there would be no tilt towards Israel and no change on foreign policy as we will continue to support the Palestine cause,” she said.

Dates of the Modi’s visit too has not been finalised, but New Delhi and Tel Aviv are exploring the possibility of planing the visit in the first half of 2016.

India established full diplomatic relationship with Israel in 1992 though it recognised the country in 1950.

No Indian prime minister or President had ever visited Israel but former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was the first premier from the West Asian nation to come to India in 2003.

Israel is currently one of India's biggest supplier of military products, which was made possible by Sharon during his visit a decade ago that transformed the bilateral relations. Tel Aviv not only sells military wares – from small arms to missile – to India's military and home land security establishment, but also trains the Indian policemen.

During its four day stay at Haifa, INS Trikand would have extensive engagement with Israeli Navy, expanding the cooperation level between friendly navies.

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