Benjamin Netanyahu meets Narendra Modi: Why Israeli Prime Minister’s visit is important for India

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New Delhi | Updated: January 15, 2018 1:08:50 PM

The Israeli leader, who has come along with 130 businessmen, is on a six-day-visit to India and has a jam-packed schedule. The visit is crucial as during Netanyahu's six-day stay, the two countries are expected to sign agreements on cybersecurity, energy and space cooperation and film production.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu India visit is crucial, many agreements on table

Benjamin Netanyahu-Narendra Modi meet: Soon after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu landed in India, the visiting leader called Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a “good friend” and asserted they would together take relations between the two countries to “new heights”. Interacting with the media today (January 15), Netanyahu emphasized, “This is the dawn of a new era in the friendship between India and Israel.” On the other hand, Modi said on Twitter, “Your visit to India is historic and special. It will further cement the close friendship between our nations.”

The Israeli leader, who has come along with 130 businessmen, is on a six-day-visit to India and has a jam-packed schedule. The visit is crucial as during Netanyahu’s six-day stay, the two countries are expected to sign agreements on cybersecurity, energy and space cooperation and film production, as per an official statement by India’s External Affairs Ministry.

The two countries are likely to review progress in implementing agreements on cooperation in technology, water and agriculture that were signed during Modi’s visit to Israel. Reportedly, Netanyahu is accompanied by the largest-ever business delegation to travel with an Israeli leader. Coming to his packed schedule,  Netanyahu will have formal discussions with Modi and call on President Ram Nath Kovind as well as attend an India-Israel CEO Forum Meeting. Netanyahu also expects to make a stop at the Taj Mahal, a visit to Modi’s home state of Gujarat and meet Bollywood luminaries in Mumbai, where he will attempt to market Israel as a prime filming location.

Describing the India-Israel relationship as an ‘all-weather’ relationship, Daniel Carmon, the Israeli ambassador to India, played down India’s vote at the UN (against the US move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital), describing the relationship as “much stronger than one vote at the UN”. As per a report by The Indian Express, Israel will be investing $68.6 million to boost cooperation with India in areas such as tourism, technology, agriculture and innovation over a period of four years. The commitment is in addition to the India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund of $40 million over five years with equal contribution from both sides that has already been agreed between the two nations, the report added.

Netanyahu is also expected to make a visit to a Jewish centre targeted in the 2008 Mumbai attacks during his tour. Notably, Netanyahu is only the second Israeli PM to visit India and the first since Ariel Sharon in 2003.

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