PM Modi leaves for Israel on his three-day historic visit

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Liora Itzhak, chosen to sing the national anthems of Israel and India to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wishes to re-live her Bollywood dream yet again.

Addressing the media here, Mark Sofer, Deputy Director General of the Asia and Pacific Division of the Foreign Ministry and former Ambassador to India, said the visit - coming as it does after 25 years of establishment of diplomatic ties - will have huge symbolic significance.

"I will meet President Reuven Rivlin who I had the pleasure of receiving in New Delhi in November previous year, as well as other senior leaders". Indian sentiment also favors Israel and there is every chance that at least a dozen agreements on counter-terrorism, agriculture, cyber security, Industry, and military will be signed during the visit of Modi.

He said that Israel has expressed its "great willingness" over the last three years to participate in India's flagship initiatives like Make in India, Clean Ganga, Smart Cities and Digital India.

"Whenever any Indian authorities went to Israel, they have maintained ties with Israel and also reaffirmed our support to the Palestinian cause", Owaisi said in Hyderabad.

It was Israel that kept the momentum going in the relationship by supplying India weaponry at critical moments, even when not being repaid by Indian policymakers. "Our goal is to conduct dialogue with Israel in a manner that improves the lives of the citizens of both countries", he said.

Asked whether India would take a more pro-Israel posture in the UN, Modi said India's positions at the UN are based on the merit of specific issues and driven by the country's core values and principles.

"Israel has been an important defence supplier to us, and a reliable defence supplier which we appreciate", he said. "I am confident (it) will lead to further strengthening of our relations in different areas and also open up new priorities for cooperation", he said. "We're a small community here and don't really stand out".

India and Israel cooperate in a wide range of areas including agriculture and water conservation, science and technology, trade and investment.

The two countries have also cooperated on issues such as water and agriculture technology.

In 2015, India abstained from voting on an "anti-Israel bashing" UNHRC resolution which condemned Israel over a United Nations report into the alleged war crimes committed during the 2014 Gaza conflict.

India, agencies reported that the book will be in multiple languages and become available in book stores later this year.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the second longest serving Prime Minister in Israel's history after David Ben-Gurion, is a right-wing hardliner, who has made his political career by portraying Palestinians as an existential threat to the Jewish state of Israel.

Israel has quietly supported India's military needs for decades - it gave India arms in 1971 during a war with Pakistan and later in 1999 during another conflict with Pakistan.

After landing on Tuesday, July 4, Modi will have his official engagements, including bilateral talks with Netanyahu. In the existence of Israel from 1948, this is the first time that an Indian Prime Minister is visiting Israel.

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