India is looking to further strengthen its ties with Israel by encouraging Jews of Indian origin to visit India for Jewish heritage tours, the Indian ambassador in Tel Aviv said last week. Ambassador Jaideep Sarkar told the third National Convention of Indian Jews in Israel that his government has many programs that allow for easy travel for young Jews of Indian origin to teach their children about their heritage, the Press Trust of India reported.
The initiative to attract the 85,000 Jews of Indian origin to India is the country’s latest strategy to become closer with the Jewish state, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. "We want to tell the world proudly about the rich Jewish life in India; with your efforts we are working to preserve the Jewish heritage in India. We hope to have a package tour to Jewish heritage sites in Mumbai and elsewhere by early next year,” Sarkar said.
"As Jews you are blessed with power of creativity and innovation; as Indians tolerance and balance runs in your blood. As Jews you are strengthened by your religious traditions; as Indians you have the ability to connect with other people from other faiths and beliefs, so it is vitally important that you pass on these precious qualities and values to your children and grandchildren,” Sarkar went on to say, according to Haaretz.
Indian leaders have said they want to preserve more Jewish heritage sites in their country, the Press Trust reported. Some of these sites that have been renovated included two synagogues in the city of Kochi.
— Indians for Israel (@Indians4Israel) April 24, 2015
Since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in 2014, ties between Israel and India have warmed greatly. Last year, India made a series of military deals with Israel, which included buying naval and anti-tank missiles, Haaretz reported. With the purchases, India became the buyer of the most military equipment from Israel. India has also become the largest buyer of Israeli drones, Haaretz reported.