Bennett tests positive for Covid-19, days ahead of his India visit


Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has tested positive for Covid-19 days ahead of a scheduled visit to India to mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations and to take forward the bilateral strategic alliance. Israel prime minister's office on Monday said that Bennett feels well and will continue to work while self-isolating at home. There was no official word from both countries on whether his status will affect the visit to India during April 3-5.

According to reports, Bennett is scheduled to leave Israel for India on Saturday. If he tests negative by Friday – the fifth day after testing positive – he will be cleared for travel under the guidelines of Israel’s health ministry. However, if he tests positive again, he will have to be in self-isolation for seven days.

Bennett is set to visit India at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This will be his first visit to the country in his capacity as the prime minister. The two leaders met on the margins of the COP26 in Glasgow last November and spoke on the telephone in August 2021. The visit is expected to mark the commemoration of 30 years of full diplomatic relations between India and Israel and 75 years of India’s independence. The two countries elevated their bilateral relations to a strategic partnership during Modi’s visit to Israel in July 2017, the first by an Indian prime minister. The two countries have continued to deepen their strategic partnership, with the focus on innovation and research. Bennett’s visit is expected to “strengthen our excellent bilateral cooperation in diverse areas, including in agriculture, water, trade, education and science and technology,” the external affairs ministry said recently.

Israel is a leading supplier of advanced military hardware to India and strategic ties between the two sides have now expanded to trilateral cooperation with West Asian states, such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which signed the Abraham Accords.

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