New Delhi: Describing its relationship with India as "unique and special", Israel on Wednesday said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's upcoming two-day visit to Tel Aviv from January 17 is part of a "bigger picture" congruence of interests in areas of defence, counter-terrorism and trade, among others.
Israeli Ambassador Daniel Carmon called bilateral defence cooperation between the two nations as "central pillars" of the relationship, asserting his country was strongly committed to the 'Make in India' initiative in defence manufacturing through technology transfer and joint ventures. Swaraj will also visit Palestine during the trip.
"We attach great importance to the visit. This visit is becoming part of what we gradually are trying to see as routine high-level visits and part of tightening of relationship that we are witnessing in the last few years," Carmon said.
In Tel Aviv, Swaraj will have meetings with President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as Minister of Defence Moshe Ya'alon, Minister of National Infrastructure Yuval Steinitz and Israeli legislators.
The Israeli envoy, replying to a question, said the relationship between India and Israel is evolving and that it was more visible in the last-year-and-half. "The visibility is not only ceremonial. The visibility brings with it more activities," he said.
Carmon said, "We walk the walk, we talk the talk, visit each other. Because it is a very unique relationship." Issues of mutual interest including ways to enhance cooperation in defence, counter-terrorism, agriculture and water sector will be discussed during the visit.
The envoy said Swaraj will be briefed about the current situation in West Asia. "The defence cooperation for many years has been central pillars of relationship. The changing world, changing parameters, changing needs are always something that is on the top of our agenda and always on our radar," he said.
He also referred to tests of Barak 8 missile, both in India and Israel, as shining example of joint ventures in the defence spehere.