Modi may visit Israel early next year

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-awaited visit to Israel may take place in the first half of next year coinciding with celebration of 25 years of diplomatic engagement between the two countries.

There was an indication to this effect days ahead of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s eight-day visit next week to bolster ties in range of areas.

The announcement of Modi’s visit to Israel, the first by an Indian Prime Minister, was made by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in May last year but no dates have yet been finalised.

When asked about Modi’s proposed visit to Tel Aviv, Israeli Ambassador Daniel Carmon today said it will happen for sure and that it will be a very important trip.

When pressed further, he said Modi’s visit will take place in “relevant period”, indicating it may take place soon as he talked about plans to celebrate 25 years of full diplomatic relations in early next year. The envoy said dates for the trip was being decided by the two governments.

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

No Indian Prime Minister has ever visited that country.

In June, an official of the Jewish state had hinted that Modi may visit Israel early next year.

President Pranab Mukherjee had gone to Israel in October last year and Rivlin is arriving here next week to reciprocate Mukherjee’s trip.