Indiaspora and Jewish leaders partner for trip in July

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a joint meeting of Congress as Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) stand behind him, at the Capitol in Washington, June 8, 2016. (The New York Times)

Indiaspora and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) are partnering to bring a high-level delegation to Israel when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits in July. On the agenda: Talks about technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, foreign policy and international geopolitics.

M.R. Rangaswami, Indiaspora’s founder, said the two groups will bring a collective of about 15 participants, including entrepreneurs, philanthropists and venture capitalists. They expect to be in Israel July 3 through July 7.

“Our delegation will engage in quadrilateral people-to-people Track 2 diplomacy between the Israelis, Indians, Indian-Americans, and Jewish Americans,” he said. Joining them will be Dr. Bharat Barai, chairman of the Global Indian-Jewish Relations Institute (GIJRI).

“This is something we are hoping for and working towards for decades,” said Jason Isaacson, AJC’s associate executive director for policy. “It really goes back to 1990 and closer alignment and closer relationship between and strategic partner between India and the United States.

To make Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Israel has been an objective of ours.”

Isaacson said AJC is excited about the fact that for the first time an Indian prime minister would be visiting Israel. Previously, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has visited Israel and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has been to India. “And we look forward to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at some later stage to going to India as well,” he said. “Our concern is a common struggle against extremism and our commitment to democracy pluralism and to the peace in the Middle East.”

He said AJC has found a common ground with the Indian-American community’s leadership. “We have experts and officials and of course, growing the trajectory of the relationship between India and Israel in the course of this 20 years has been phenomenal.”

He said the commercial relationship, through bilateral trade, has reached more than $5 billion. In 1992, that figure was only $200 million.

The team will also be attending business, technology, start-up and skill development meetings organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI) delegation in Israel. One of the highlights of the visit will be a briefing at the headquarters of United Hatzalah, Israel’s scooter-borne medic first responders. AJC is funding experts to do training programs in India in scooter-borne first response in August when an AJC leadership delegation will also be in India.

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