New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended Hanukka greetings to his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu.

Taking to Twitter, PM Modi said, "Hanukkah greetings to my friend Benjamin Netanyahu, friends in Israel, and those celebrating this festival of lights around the world. Chag Sameach."

Notably, Hanukkah celebrations begin today. Hanukkah is celebrated around the same time as Christmas, it has nothing to do with the festival.

Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem and the miracle of one day's worth of oil lasting for eight days after Syrian Greeks defiled the Jerusalem Temple before the Maccabees, a group of Jewish soldiers, defeated them.

Every year, the holiday starts on the 25th of Kislev, the ninth month of the Jewish calendar.

Jewish festivals are celebrated on different yearly dates since the Hebrew calendar is based on the lunar cycle, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac. Usually, Hanukkah begins between the end of November and the end of December.

India and Israel share a warm relationship. Recently, Israeli envoy to India Naor Gilon expressed hope that Benjamin Netanyahu will visit India after he becomes the nation's Prime Minister.

He stated that Netanyahu's visit will boost the negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and Israel.

"We are working on an FTA (with India) for a long time now. When Jaishankar was in Israel, he spoke about the need to go forward. We are hoping to have a visit of our Prime Minister next year," Gilon said.

He further added, "PM Netanyahu is going to make it to the office soon probably and then we will try and work with him. I am sure he has the wish because of the friendship with PM Modi and his high admiration for India, and I believe that if the PM will be coming, it will be a boost for the negotiation of the FTA."

Earlier, in July 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Israel, the first visit by an Indian head of government. During the visit, PM Modi met with Moshe Holzberg. In January 2019, then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was joined by Holzberg and Samuel on a visit to Mumbai, reported The Jerusalem Post.

The establishment under US auspices of the "I2U2" group, in July 2022, formalizes and solidifies the strategic partnership between India, Israel, and the UAE.

Indian commentator Harshil Mehta described the I2U2 as a "platform for the 21st century, driven by economic pragmatism, multilateral cooperation, and strategic autonomy."

The second foundation of the India-Israel strategic alliance derives from the cultural-political sphere. At the most basic level, it is a geographic fact that the two countries are located precisely at the eastern and western edges of the Islamic world, reported The Jerusalem Post.