Israeli PM to visit India for boost of ties

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Netanyahu is on a six-day visit to India.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives Sunday for his first visit to India to expand defense, trade and energy ties during his six-day stay.

During his visit in July previous year, PM Modi was received by Netanyahu at the airport, and was accorded the kind of welcome by every religious sect that is reserved for popes and U.S. presidents.

Joint Secretary (West Asia-North Africa division) in the ministry B Bala Bhaskar said the Palestinian issue is likely to figure in the talks between the two prime ministers besides other key issues of mutual importance.

Rafael, an Israeli state-owned Rafael weapons and defense maker, announced that India had canceled a 500 million USA dollars worth purchase of its Spike anti-tank guided missile.

He said Modi and Netanyahu would hold talks on a wide range of matters and "I am sure (the Palestine issue) is also going to come up". He will also lay wreath at Taj Hotel Mumbai and pay a visit to Nariman House - Chabad Centre.

"On this visit, I intend to strengthen bilateral relations even more", Netanyahu said in the statement ahead of his departure, addressing Modi as "a close friend of Israel and of mine".

The visit marks 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

"Bollywood stars have considerable influence around the world", said Cohen, adding that Israel wanted to push the Indian film industry to shoot a film in the Jewish state. Netanyahu is being accompanied by the largest business delegation that has travelled with an Israeli premier on an overseas tour.

Israeli Ambassador Daniel Carmon called Netanyagu's visit to India as the "grand finale to the celebrations of 25 years of growing partnership".

The envoy also said that sometimes India comes with a request (at the UN) and sometimes Israel does.

India last month had joined 127 other countries to vote in the United Nations General Assembly in favour of a resolution opposing the recent decision of US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had told reporters that Netanyahu will hold a roadshow with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad on Jan 17.

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