New Delhi: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is all set to visit India this Sunday.
The Embassy of Israel announced that the Prime Minister will arrive in New Delhi on January 14th and depart from Mumbai on January 19th. The visit will include New Delhi, Gujarat and Mumbai.
During his visit, the Prime Minister will hold meetings in New Delhi with President Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj. In addition, the Prime Minister will give an inaugural speech at the Raisina Dialogue and meet with the Indo-Israeli CEO forum in Delhi.
In Gujarat, the two Prime Ministers will visit the Center of Excellence in Vadrad and inaugurate a Center of Excellence for date palms in Bhuj via video conference. They will also visit the iCreate innovation campus and center. ‘iCreate’ was formally launched in 2011 by Modi when he was the chief minister. The institution mentors budding entrepreneurs and guides them to set up start-ups, according to an official.
In Mumbai, the Prime Minister will meet with Jewish community leaders and select members of the Indian business community. The Prime Minister will reach out to Bollywood in an exclusive “Shalom Bollywood” event.
Ahead of the visit, Ambassador Daniel Carmon said, “The Prime Minister’s visit to India is the grand finale to the celebrations of 25 years of Growing Partnership between India and Israel. The visit will focus on the progress made between India and Israel since Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Israel last summer, and on shaping the next 25 years of relations between our countries and our peoples.”
PM Modi had earlier hosted the Japanese premier Shinzo Abe in Ahmedabad and a joint roadshow was organized during the latter’s visit here in September last year.
India and Israel have deep defence and security ties, and Netanyahu’s visit is likely to further strengthen them. The two sides are also likely to discuss ways to further enhance cooperation in high technology, agriculture, water management and trade. Israel on Thursday said it will invest $68.6 million (Rs 435 crore) to boost cooperation with India in areas like tourism, technology, agriculture and innovation over a period of four years.
Netanyahu will visit the country along with 130 businessmen for trade talks which will also cover defence sales. The India-Israel bilateral trade in 2016-17 stood at $5 billion, with exports from India accounting for $3 billion. This, however, does not include the cooperation in defence sector between the two countries.
The Israeli PM is not disheartened by India’s vote against Israel at the UN General Assembly on the issue of Jerusalem and said that bilateral ties would receive a further boost during his milestone visit to the country.
Netanyahu, who would be leaving for India on 14 January, said: “Well I would have preferred a different vote to be frank but I don’t think it materially changes the tremendous flowering of relations between India and Israel”.
India in December had voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution condemning the US for its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India will be the second by an Israeli prime minister, and comes 15 years after Ariel Sharon visited New Delhi in 2003.