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President likely to visit Israel, Palestine in October

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President Pranab Mukherjee is likely to visit Israel as also Palestine in October this year, making it the maiden trip by an Indian Head of State to the West Asian countries.

Jordan is also expected to be on the itinerary of the trip, official sources said here today.

The fact that Palestine and Jordan are also expected to be on the travel itinerary makes it clear that India does not want to give an impression of being tilted towards Israel.

External Affairs Minister Suhma Swaraj had earlier said in June that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be travelling to Israel, Palestine and Jordan this year.

Sources said the idea of the visit to Israel was generated after RSS and other ideologues of the NDA government pitched for openly embracing the Jewish nation as a friend.

However, the government preferred to do a balancing act by including Palestine in the trip.

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

L K Advani had visited Israel when he was Home Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. Jaswant Singh and S M Krishna had visited the Jewish nation as External Affairs Ministers. Recently Home Minister Rajnath Singh had also visited Israel.