Israeli President to visit India early next year

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JERUSALEM: Amid burgeoning bilateral ties, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin is set to visit India early next year to become the first Israeli Head of State to make a trip to the country. 

Confirmation on Rivlin’s visit comes days after President Pranab Mukjerjee made a historic trip to the Jewish nation, becoming the first Indian Head of State to visit Israel. 

“We are natural partners in so many ways but cannot sit back. If we don’t keep moving forward, we will find ourselves falling behind. I greatly look forward to my visit, and hope it will serve to make our friendship even more productive,” Rivlin told representatives of India-Israel forum at his residence here. 

The Israeli President may visit India soon and it could be “as early as the beginning of next year”, sources in the Presidency told PTI. 

To make the trip more meaningful, the 76-year-old Israeli President said that he would travel with local businessmen who could meet their Indian colleagues to continue the cooperation between the two countries and people. 

Mukherjee, who visited Israel earlier this month, had invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pay an official visit to India. Mukherjee had also invited his Israeli counterpart Rivlin to India. 

“President Rivlin accepted my invitation and confirmed his intention to do so at an early date. I also invited Israeli Parliamentarians to come to India and engage with their Indian counterparts,” Mukherjee had told reporters on his way back from his West Asia trip that also took him to Jordan and Palestine. 

Describing Mukherjee’s three-day visit to Israel from October 13 as a “historic political milestone”, Rivlin had said that it reflected the continued strengthening of the relations between the two countries. 

Describing India and Israel as “natural partners”, Rivlin, speaking to representatives of India-Israel forum, asked both countries to “move forward” and not “sit back” in further strengthening burgeoning ties.

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