The Regional Shifts Behind Modi’s Historic Visit to Israel

The Regional Shifts Behind Modi’s Historic Visit to Israel
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend a conference with Israeli and Indian CEOs in Tel Aviv, Israel, July 6, 2017 (AP photo by Oded Balilty).

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Israel this week, he marked a major turning point in global diplomacy. Like other pivotal moments in world affairs, the first visit to Israel by an Indian prime minister was the culmination of a long process. But it underscores a series of geopolitical trends that have reshaped the Middle East, making it almost unrecognizable from barely a decade ago and presaging more far-reaching changes ahead.

Modi was welcomed in Israel with an effusiveness reserved for few global leaders. At the arrival ceremony, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told him, “We’ve been waiting for you a long time. We’ve been waiting almost 70 years, in fact!”

The visit constitutes a clear diplomatic achievement for Israel whose significance cannot be overstated. For India, it signals a sharp break with tradition by a prime minister who has already shown a willingness to take risks.

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