July 4 (UPI) -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Israel today, marking the first time a sitting Indian prime minister will visit the Jewish state.
Modi said the visit was "based on the deep centuries-old connection between our two peoples," according to the Times of Israel.
He added: "I share the opinion of many of my people, who see Israel as a beacon of technology, as a country that has managed to survive even though the odds were against it."
The visit comes after the two nations have drastically increased their military ties, including $2.6 billion in arms deals so far in 2017.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel has been providing India with weapons defense systems and military drones for years, but have recently stepped up those efforts.
Israel Aerospace Industries said it has been working with the Indian government for 25 years by selling its technology so weapons can be made in India as part of the country's "Made in India" policy.
"The company collaborates with local companies and works with India's defense agencies, as well as the coast guard, navy, air force and army," said a spokesperson for India Aerospace Industries. "Joint development projects include the Barak-8 air defense system, in both its maritime and land-based versions; mission aircraft; various radar systems; and [unmanned aerial vehicles]."
India's increase in defense spending with Israel comes at the same time it has been signed major defense deals with Russia.
In October 2016, the Indian government signed a $10 billion defense deal with Russia, including sea and air weapons systems.