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Narendra Modi becomes first Indian PM to visit Israel

July 4, 2017 4:31 pm

Narendra Modi has arrived in Tel Aviv, becoming the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel.

Mr Modi, who recently said India and the Jewish state share a “deep and centuries-old” connection, is expected to agree military and cyber security deals.

Observers note he will not travel to Ramallah or meet Palestinian leaders, as visiting dignitaries often do.

The visit is seen by some as a turning point on India’s position on Israel.

Mr Modi called the visit “ground-breaking” as he was met at the airport by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They will have dinner this evening ahead of formal talks on Wednesday.

Here is what the focus will be on over the next three days:

Defence deals will be top of the agenda

For years, Israel and India have been working closely together on counter-terrorism and defence issues and India has been a regular customer of arms from the Jewish state.

Working to modernise its military to counter China and Pakistan, India is now Israel’s biggest arms market, thought to be worth about $1bn (£770m) per year, according to Reuters news agency.