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1ST LEAD Modi receives Netanyahu as Israel seeks to strengthen ties with India By Eliyahu Kamisher and Sunrita Sen, dpa

Israel
14.01.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
New Delhi/Tel Aviv (dpa) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in India Sunday to a surprise airport reception from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Netanyahu began a six-day visit aimed at strengthening defence, energy and economic ties.

Netanyahu is scheduled to visit Delhi, Agra, Mumbai and attend a road show in Gujarat, Modi‘s home state.

"A special welcome for a special visit ... Modi personally receives Israeli PM at Delhi Airport," Modi‘s office tweeted, to which Netanyahu responded in Hebrew: "I greatly appreciate this moving gesture."

Netanyahu is the first Israeli prime minister to visit India in 15 years, after Ariel Sharon in 2003.

His trip is part of an effort to strengthen ties between the two countries in the fields of defence, agriculture and water management. 

During the visit Israel and India will sign bilateral agreements in energy, cinema co-production, aviation, cyber security and mutual investment, diplomats said.

India‘s vote in favour of a UN resolution rejecting US President Donald Trump‘s move to declare Jerusalem as Israel‘s capital led to tension in the relationship.

India also recently cancelled a 500-million-dollar deal to purchase 8,000 Spike antitank missiles from Israel, but defence sources said the deal could be revived in a different form.

Israel‘s ambassador to India Daniel Carmon said during a press briefing Friday that India‘s UN vote would not impact the close relations between the two countries.

"We are strengthening ties between Israel and this important global power. This serves our security, economic, trade and tourism interests, as well as many other areas. This is a great blessing for the state of Israel," Netanyahu said on the tarmac of Israel‘s Ben Gurion Airport before leaving late Saturday.

The Israeli leader‘s programme includes meetings with Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Accompanying the Israeli premier will be a large business delegation, his wife Sara and 12-year-old Moshe Holtzberg, who lost his parents in a 2008 attack on a Jewish centre in Mumbai.

That attack saw a group of terrorists strike multiple targets in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, leaving a total of 166 people dead.

One of Netanyahu‘s first engagements was to pay respects at a memorial to soldiers at the newly renamed Haifa-Teen Murti Chowk - a park dedicated to martyred soldiers.

The renaming of the memorial located in a park across from the home of the country‘s first prime minister pays homage to Indian soldiers who died fighting as part of the British Army in World War I, in which the Battle of Haifa was a key event.

Netanyahu will meet with Jewish community leaders, senior Bollywood figures as well as attending a memorial ceremony for the victims of the 2008 Mumbai bombings during his trip to Mumbai later in the week.

In New Delhi, he plans to visit Gandhi‘s tomb, address a meeting of Indian and Israeli business leaders alongside Modi and attend the 2018 Raisina Dialogue, diplomats said.

The Israeli Prime Minister‘s Office said the visit marks 25 years of Israel-India diplomatic relations. In July, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first sitting Indian head of state to visit Israel.

 

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"Israel" (Hebrew: מדינת ישראל "Medinat Yisra-el"; Arabic دولَة إِسرائيل "Dawlat Isrā"īl") is a small yet diverse Middle Eastern country with a long coastline on the eastern
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|arname=اَلْلُدّْ|meaning=|founded=|type=city|typefrom=|stdHeb=|altOffSp=|altUnoSp=|district=center|population=67,000|popyear=2007|area_dunam=12226|mayor= Ilan Harari}}"Lod" (; , "al-Ludd"; Greco-Latin "Lydda") is a city located on the
|arname=ديمونة|meaning=|founded=1955|type=city|typefrom=|stdHeb=|altOffSp=|altUnoSp=|district=south|population=33,600|popyear=2007|area_dunam=29877|pushpin_map=Israel|latd=31 |latm=4|longd=35 |longm=2|mayor=Meir Cohen}}Dimona is a centre for
|arname=صفد|meaning=Lookout (from the Hebrew root "tzafa")|founded=|type=city|typefrom=|stdHeb=Tzfat|altOffSp=Tsfat, Tzefat, Zfat, |district=north|population=28,500|popyear=2007|mayor=Ilan Shohat|pushpin_map=Israel north
|arname=ديمونة|meaning=|founded=1955|type=city|typefrom=|stdHeb=|altOffSp=|altUnoSp=|district=south|population=33,600|popyear=2007|area_dunam=29877|pushpin_map=Israel|latd=31 |latm=4|longd=35 |longm=2|mayor=Meir Cohen}}Dimona is a centre for
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