Israel has formally protested against India’s vote at the UN on Jerusalem even while it prepares for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s four-day state visit next month.
Ahead of the visit that begins in New Delhi on January 14, diplomatic sources spoke of the two countries embarking on a “new journey” where such seeming contradictions will matter less.
According to the current schedule, Netanyahu will spend January 16 and 17 in Ahmedabad and Mumbai. He and his wife will also visit the Taj Mahal.
In Mumbai, he will visit Chabad House, the Jewish center that was attacked during the terror assault by a Lashkar-e-Taiba team in November 2008. Netanyahu will be accompanied by Moshe, the Israeli child saved by his Indian nanny during the attack.
Israel protested against India’s decision to vote in favor of the UN resolution condemning the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem. However, the complaint was conveyed via “the right diplomatic channels” rather than at political levels, the diplomatic sources said.
Innovation will be the focus of Netanyahu’s visit, the first by an Israeli premier since 2003. A number of agreements and MoUs are expected to be signed to build a “bridge” between innovators in both countries. Netanyahu will be accompanied by 75 to 100 executives from leading Israeli firms.
Netanyahu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the diplomatic sources said, will build on “chemistry” that was evident when Modi became the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel last year.
Despite the UN vote, Israel is confident about its international standing. Israel sees a “new dynamic in world affairs” in which countries such as India and Israel can shape an emerging new order, the sources said. At the summit, both sides will seek a “better understanding of opportunities” India and Israel have in each other’s region.
A large number of countries are also reaching out to Israel in this new scenario, thanks to what Israeli officials call the “two Ts” – technology and terrorism.
Israeli’s lead in areas such as water conservation and management, information technology and counter-terrorism have made it attractive to many formerly hostile governments. Israel has begun leveraging this to get itself greater support in multilateral forums such as the UN.