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

Netanyahu and Modi

Israeli PM Netanyahu Warmly Greeted in New Delhi on Arrival for Week-Long India State Visit

In contrast with prime ministerial visits to the USA 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.

Shortly after receiving Netanyahu, PM Modi tweeted that the latter's visit will "further cement" bilateral ties - even expressing the sentiment in Hebrew.

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"The two prime ministers drove straight from the airport to Teenmurti Chowk to pay homage to the soldiers of Mysore Lancers, Jodhpur Lancers and Hyderabad Lancers, who had fought for the allied forces to wrest control of Haifa â€" now a major port city on Mediterranean Coast of Israel â€" from the Ottoman Empire in September 2018 during World War I. The last time an Israeli prime minister came to India - a country of 1.3 billion people - was in 2003, when Ariel Sharon arrived but abruptly cut his visit short to return to Israel to deal with a terrorist attack.

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Later in the day, he will meet Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj.

He will also meet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and hold delegation level talks. "We will sign very many agreements", Netanyahu said in statement. "We will strengthen the connection between Israel and this important global power".

The Israeli premier would be formally welcomed on Monday morning at Rashtrapati Bhawan following which he would lay a wreath at Rajghat. The Israeli PM will call on President Ram Nath Kovind later in the day.

Apart from New Delhi, Netanyahu will visit Agra, Ahmedabad and Mumbai during his first visit to India.

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The visit by Israeli PM comes a little more than six months after Narendra Modi visited the Jewish state.

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

Both Modi and Netanyahu will visit two centres of excellency in Ahmedabad and inaugurate one.

Netanyahu would arrive in Mumbai on Wednesday in the evening where he will meet the Indian Jewish community.

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Carmon said 11-year Moshe Holtzberg will also accompany Netanyahu and participate in a function at the Chabad House in Mumbai.

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