Terming relations with Israeli government important, Congress on Tuesday warned the Centre to not affect “India’s traditional loyalty” and ties to the Palestinians as Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for a three-day trip to Israel on Tuesday.

Speaking to media, senior party leader and Congress spokesperson, Shashi Tharoor said that the long-standing relations between India and Israel have reached a particular level of maturity which making it possible for India to contemplate the first ever prime ministerial visit to Israel.

“This is a very important relationship which India needs to sustain, while at the same time making sure it is not at the expense of our traditional loyalty and ties to the Palestinians,” Tharoor said.

Touted as a historical development, this is the first instance of an Indian Prime Minister making a trip to Israel till now.

Expressing his concern, Shashi Tharoor further added that as per as far as the foreign policy of India in concerned the Congress party “hopes to keep it a national issue, and not a political one”. “President Pranab Mukherjee went to Israel last year. Now we are taking it to the level of chief executive of the nation,” he added.

Citing the fact that PM Modi chose not to visit Palestine on the same trip, Tharoor said that Ministry of Foreign Affairs should have done their “homework” before finalising the visit.

“I hope the Ministry of External Affairs has done its homework. Prime Minister is going to Israel but not to the Palestinian authorities must have been thought through,” said Tharoor.

Calling out the government on the issue of Palestine, another Congress leader Salman Khurshid said that the Government does not seem to have a clear position on that (Palestine).

“To go without giving clear position can lead to difficult situations,” added Khurshid.

Both PM Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu are slated to discuss on various issues ranging from terrorism and ways to boost economic ties between the two nations.

“PM Narendra Modi emplanes for a historic visit to Israel, the first ever by an Indian Prime Minister,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.

In a special gesture, Netanyahu will receive Modi when he arrives at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport. Such a special gesture has been done only for US Presidents, including Donald Trump, and the Pope.

Modi will be in Israel until July 6 before travelling to Hamburg, Germany, to attend the G-20 summit.