Netanyahu in India for first visit by Israeli PM in 15 years


Prime Minister Netanyahu will arrive on Sunday and depart from Mumbai on Friday, January 19.

On his part, PM Netanyahu thanked his "good friend" Modi for the welcome accorded to him.

Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will hold talks on Monday covering entire expanse of ties and explore new areas of cooperation to further deepen the "very very special relationship", the external affairs ministry had said on January 11, 2018.

Netanyahu's visit to India is only the second one by an Israeli prime minister and comes after a gap of 15 years.

Modi would be accompanying Netanyahu to Gujarat on Wednesday where he will be welcomed in the same fashion as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was with a road show in Ahmedabad. He will also call on President Ram Nath Kovind on the same day.

But he will also make an emotional visit to a Jewish centre targeted in the 2008 Mumbai attacks during his tour, a symbolic gesture to India's tiny and shrinking Jewish community.

In contrast with prime ministerial visits to the U.S. or Europe, Netanyahu's trip, which will take him to three cities in India, will focus very little on Middle Eastern affairs such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

On Tuesday, the minister will leave for Agra and visit Taj Mahal in the city.

Six months ago, Narendra Modi became the first sitting Indian prime minister to visit Israel.

In addition, he will give an inaugural speech at the Raisina Dialogue and meet with the Indo-Israeli CEO forum in Delhi. They will also visit the iCreate innovation campus and center. Modi and he will also visit the Center of Excellence in Vadrad and inaugurate a Center of Excellence for date palms in Bhuj via video conference. On the same day the minister will leave for Mumbai.

It said he will reach out to Bollywood in an exclusive "Shalom Bollywood" event.

Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife, Sara, is leading a 130-strong trade delegation to India meant to boost bilateral relations.

Modi's standalone visit to Israel in July this year celebrated 25 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Netanyahu had described the invitation as "a deeply moving moment for me, both in personal, but also in national and worldwide terms". "We will sign very many agreements", Netanyahu said in statement.