India has invited the west Asian nation to be the ‘focus country’ at IFFI 2018, which means Indian film-makers will be wooed with stunning Israeli locales.
New Delhi: India has invited Israel to be the “focus country” for the prestigious 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), scheduled to be held in Goa from 20-28 November this year.
The ‘focus country’ segment at IFFI allows the nation chosen to showcase their creative talent through cinema, as well as destinations for film shoots. A relatively new feature for the 66-year-old festival, the segment featured Spain, Republic of Korea and Canada over the last three years.
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In a letter to Indian ambassador to Israel Pavan Kapoor, information and broadcasting secretary Amit Khare said making Israel the focus country will help reflect the growing strength of the India-Israel bilateral relationship.
Ties between Delhi and Tel Aviv have strengthened under the Narendra Modi administration, with the BJP leader making an Indian Prime Minister’s first-ever trip to Israel last year. His Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu came visiting earlier this year.
While India recognised Israel in I950, three years after it was carved out of erstwhile Palestinian territory, diplomatic relations between the two countries were only established in 1992, when P.V. Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister.
Since it assumed office in 2014, the Modi government has defied long-held Indian foreign policy to pursue a strategy of ‘de-hyphenation’, pursuing relationships with Israel and Palestine in their individual right without either depending on the other.
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In the letter, Khare cited the audio-visual co-production agreement signed by the two countries during Netanyahu’s visit in January. The co-production of a film under this treaty will make it a national production in India as well as Israel, allowing the production a pool of creative, artistic, technical, financial and marketing resources from both nations.
It also seeks to ensure an exchange of art and culture between the countries.
In the letter, Khare said IFFI would offer an “excellent platform for strengthening cultural ties between India and Israel”, and asked him to pursue the proposal with Israel.