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External Affairs Minister Jaishankar to leave for Israel on 5-day visit

**EDS: TWITTER IMAGE POSTED BY @DrSJaishankar ON THURSDAY, SEPT. 23, 2021.** New York: External Affairs Minister of India Dr. S Jaishankar addresses the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting on Afghanistan, via video conferencing, in New York. (PTI Photo)(PTI09_23_2021_000036B)  

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will leave for Israel on a 5-day visit on Sunday, for the first such high-level engagement with the 4-month old government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennet, and his first visit to the country as Minister, the MEA announced.

Mr. Jaishankar will hold bilateral talks with Foreign Minister of Israel Yair Lapid, who is also the Alternate Prime Minister, and is expected to take over the PM’s post in 2023, as part of the coalition agreement of the Government that succeeded Benjamin Netanyahu.

He is also expected to call on President Isaac Herzog, PM Bennet and Speaker of the Knesset Mickey Levy, all of who have taken their new posts in the past few months. Ambassador-designate to India Naor Gilon, who has yet to present his credentials in India, said the visit would be ‘intensive’.

“Awaiting to accompany Dr. S Jaishankar on his first visit as EAM,” Mr. Gilon wrote in a tweet, adding that “a very intensive visit is planned, aiming to further solidify the Strategic Partnership announced during the 2017 historic visit to Israel of PM.”

The 2017 visit marked the first time an Indian Prime Minister had visited Israel. “Since then, the relationship has focused on expanding knowledge-based partnership, which includes collaboration in innovation and research, including boosting the ‘Make in India’ initiative,” the MEA said, indicating that Mr. Jaishankar would also interact with business leaders in the hi-tech and innovation industry.

He is also expected to travel to Haifa to pay tribute to Indian soldiers who were killed during the First World War, and will hold meetings with the “Indian-origin Jewish community, Indologists and Indian students who are currently pursuing their education in Israeli universities,” it said.

Mr. Jaishankar’s visit also comes close on the heels of the Pegasus surveillance controversy, and revelations that a number of Indian journalists and key political and business figures amongst people from other countries had their phones hacked using Israeli company NSO’s Pegasus software. While NSO insists it only sells software to government agencies and deals must be cleared by the Israeli Government, New Delhi has denied carrying out the surveillance that allegedly began after PM Modi’s visit to Israel and meetings with former Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.


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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 10:46:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/external-affairs-minister-jaishankar-to-leave-for-israel-on-5-day-visit/article37030344.ece

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