A minor explosion outside the Israeli embassy in Delhi on Friday sent a scare across the country’s security establishment. The blast, incidentally, took place on a day diplomatic ties between India and Israel completed 29 years. The two countries share very close ties and have agreements in several fields, including defence, science, technology etc.
Here’s a look at some key points on India-Israel ties:
1. Though India officially recognised Israel in 1950, the two countries established full diplomatic ties only on January 29, 1992. As of December 2020, India is among 164 United Nations (UN) member states to have diplomatic ties with Israel.
2. India has its embassy in the second-largest Israeli city of Tel Aviv. Israel, meanwhile, has its embassy in India in Delhi. It also has consulates in Mumbai and Bengaluru.
3. Jerusalem, which Israel considers as its capital, is also considered by Palestine as its capital city. This is why most countries have their embassies in Israel in the city of Tel Aviv. The United States recognised Jerusalem in December 2017, and shifted its embassy there in May 2018.
4. In 1997, Ezer Weizman became the first President of Israel to visit India. In 2000, then home minister Lal Krishna Advani became the first Indian minister to visit Israel. The same year, Jaswant Singh became the first foreign minister of India to visit the country. Ariel Sharon became the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit India in 2003.
5. The current Prime Ministers of the two countries, Narendra Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu, have visited the other’s country in recent years. While Modi visited Israel in July 2017, Netanyahu arrived in India next January; Modi broke protocol to personally receive him at the airport. Netanyahu, too, had personally received Modi in 2017.
6. During his visit to Israel, Modi met Moshe Holtzberg, one of the youngest survivors of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Now grown up, Moshe lost his parents in the attacks, and was rescued by his nanny, Sandra Samuel.
7. Moshe, who turned 14 last November, came to Mumbai in 2018, accompanying Netanyahu on the trip. During Modi’s visit to Israel, the first by an Indian PM, the boy had expressed his wish to visit Mumbai.
8. India is the largest buyer of military equipment from Israel, which, in turn, is the second-largest defence supplier to India, after Russia. India is also the tenth-largest trade partner of Israel, and the third-largest from Asia.