While dates are still being worked out, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is schedule to travel to Israel, thus making him the first Indian premier to visit the country, said external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj here on Sunday.
Speaking at a press conference to recall the achievements of the external affairs ministry in the past year, Swaraj said the PM’s “dates were not confirmed”, but that they were being “worked out.”
Already, a high-level Indian team will be travelling to Tel Aviv in July for discussions on a range of bilateral issues and going by the indication, Modi’s visit to Israel could happen this year itself.
Further, Swaraj also said she would be visiting Israel, Palestine and Jordan later this year, and will travel to Tehran in June for the non-aligned ministerial meet.
But the officials said there is no decision yet on whether Modi will attend the NAM summit in Caracas, Venezuela in September this year.
No Indian PM has visited Israel, despite India setting up full relations with the country more than two decades ago.
It was during the previous NDA tenure in 2000 that Jaswant Singh became the first Indian foreign minister to visit Israel, and PM Ariel Sharon the first Israeli PM to visit India (2003).
Modi had deviated from the precedent when he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to New York for the United Nations General Assembly in 2014. At the time, despite the fact that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was in New York on the same dates, the government had not sought any meeting between him and Modi.
Israel welcomes proposed Modi visit
Israel ambassador Daniel Carmon has welcomed the announcement that Modi was planning a visit. “High level visits between both countries, as we have witnessed in the past months, are a natural ingredient of the tightening relationship between Israel and India. In this context, Israel will of course welcome any visits by PM Narendra Modi and FM Sushma Swaraj.”