Krishna in Israel; focus on trade, security

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Monday arrived Jerusalem on a two-day visit to Israel.

Jerusalem: External Affairs Minister SM
Krishna on Monday arrived here on a two-day visit to Israel, the
first by an Indian Foreign Minister in over a decade, that
comes amidst political turmoil in the Middle East.

Krishna drove down from Jordan via the Allenby Bridge
border post and was received by Indian envoy to Israel Navtej
Sarna and officials of the Israeli Foreign Ministry here.

Krishna, who is on a visit to the Middle East, had met his
Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh yesterday.

The Minister`s visit to Jordan came close on the heels of
Amman playing host to Israeli and Palestinian negotiators on
January 3, the first in more than a year.

The visit by Krishna is being seen as a means to
understand the recent developments in the region.

India looks at Jordan as a key nation in the region which
is trying to revive the Middle East peace process, sources
said, adding the country was also important for India`s food
security. Jordan is one of the crucial providers of fertiliser
inputs like rock phosphate, phosphoric acid and potash.

Sources said various issues including the Arab Spring were
discussed during the meeting between Krishna and Judeh.

Krishna was apprised of the situation in the region and
the Minister commended the Jordanian effort on the peace
initiative between Israel and Palestinian Authority.

Krishna is understood to have told his Jordanian
counterpart that there is no problem that dialogue cannot
solve issues and also reaffirmed India`s stand on Palestine.

On the bilateral front, Jordan wished for a further
cooperation at business to business level and expressed
keenness to have a joint venture with India on supplying

Jordan also expressed interest in providing visa on
arrival facility for Indians and pitched for an increase in
bilateral trade.

Meanwhile, during his visit here, Krishna is expected to
meet Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu, besides holding talks with Deputy Prime
Minister and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Cooperation in defence, security, agriculture and science
and technology are expected to figure prominently in the
discussions amid India`s keenness to widen the scope of
partnership in the field of defence, the sources said.

They said from a buyer-seller relationship, both sides
are looking at expanding their relations.

Anti-terror cooperation is also expected to figure in the
discussions, against the backdrop of growth in this aspect of
the relationship since the Mumbai 2008 attacks in which six
Israeli nationals were killed.

Krishna is scheduled to meet President Peres later in the
evening. As per his schedule, Krishna will first visit the
Holocaust Memorial and take a tour of the Indian Hospice in

Ambassador Sarna will also be hosting a reception for
Krishna in Tel Aviv.

Krishna`s visit to Israel assumes significance because the
last such trip took place in July 2000 when the then External
Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh travelled here.