Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

Military ties, tech transfer on top of PM’s Israel visit

- Shishir Gupta shishir.gupta@hindustant­imes.com

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a two-day maiden visit to Israel on July 5, the first by an Indian PM, and mark 25 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries, officials said on Wednesday.

Modi will be in Israel on July 5 and 6 en route to the July 7-8 G-20 Summit at Hamburg, Germany.

Preparator­y work for the historic first has already begun, with defence secretary G Mohan Kumar bound for Tel Aviv on April 24-26 for a high-power joint working group meeting on military cooperatio­n.

India is keen to jointly develop an armed drone with long endurance and high survivabil­ity in the war theatre, officials said.

Foreign secretary S Jaishankar will also visit Israel early next month, even as India plays host to Palestinia­n President Mahmoud Abbas.

Though Israel is among the top four military hardware suppliers to India, with more than $1 billion in annual sales to New Delhi, the Modi government is keen to ensure that this visit is not focused on defence ties alone, but encompasse­s long-term economic and technologi­cal cooperatio­n, resulting in a free-trade agreement.

Modi’s visit will be an open acknowledg­ement of India’s close ties with Israel, and also pave the way for transfer of highend agricultur­al technologi­es that will benefit Indian farmers.

In the context of West Asia and the Af-Pak region, terrorism will top the agenda, and Israel is expected to brief the Indian prime minister of the role of Iran’s support to Shia extremist groups in destabilis­ing Iraq and Syria. Tel Aviv will also share its assessment on the spread of the so-called Islamic State (IS).

Modi’s itinerary in Israel is still be worked out, but the larger part of the two-day programme will be aimed at people-to-people interactio­n, and the charting out of an agenda for future exchanges, the officials said.

A tea stall owner on the outskirts of the Rajasthan capital got the taxman’s notice after he allegedly paid a dowry of ₹1 crore at his daughters’ wedding on April 5.

Leela Ram Gujjar, who owns a tea stall in Alwar district, married off six of his daughters at the ceremony and four of them were allegedly underage.

The income tax department swung into action after a video went viral, purportedl­y showing Gujjar counting bundles of cash in front of wedding guests in the Kotaputali area near Jaipur.

Gujjar has been asked to appear at income tax office in Jaipur, and explain how he amassed so much cash. He will have to produce documents to show the source of money.

The police and district administra­tion officials launched an inquiry. But Gujjar could not be traced.

“Gujjar had printed the names of two of his daughters on the wedding card. They were adults. But we are investigat­ing reports that he got his minor daughters married too,” sub-divisional magistrate Suresh Choudhary said.

 ??  ?? PM Narendra Modi
PM Narendra Modi

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