Naga tribal Christians laud Modi’s Israeli visit

(UCAN) Christian leaders in tribal-dominated Nagaland state say the Indian prime minister’s recent visit to Israel will help their people have easy access to holy places such as Jerusalem, a right they have been demanding for decades.

Thomas Ngullie, a legislator in the Christian-dominated state, lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s July 4-6 visit to Israel, saying the improved India-Israel relations bode well for Christians. Modi is the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel.

Former lawmaker Khyamo Lotha echoed Ngullie’s comments acknowledging Jerusalem as a place of Christian pilgrimage. The 77-year-old retired politician was the first to stress the need for improved Indo-Israel relations as far back as 1991.

Bilateral ties between India and Israel were first established in 1992 under then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao. Prior to that, Christians could not go to Israel, even with diplomatic passports.

During his visit, Modi struck a good rapport with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu and both leaders have vowed to take the relationship to new heights, media reports said.

However, many critics, including the parties in India have criticized Modi for departing from India’s established foreign policy, which had previously supported Palestine. [More]