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Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu arrives on a six-day India visit

14 January 2018

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. In the past, Modi has welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his home state.

Netanyahu and his wife Sara were welcomed at the worldwide airport in New Delhi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who made history in July when he became the first Indian leader to visit Israel.

The chowk, a war memorial, has three life-size bronze statues representing the Hyderabad, Jodhpur and Mysore Lancers, who won the Battle of Haifa for the 15 Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade during World War I. The last such trip was by Ariel Sharon, who came to India in 2003.

Netanyahu arrived in the country with the largest business delegation ever to accompany an Israeli premier on an overseas tour.

Netanyahu's first official meeting will be with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.

Before leaving for his six-day trip to India, Netanyahu promised to "sign very many agreements". "We will sign very many agreements", Netanyahu said in statement. "We are strengthening ties between Israel and this important global power", Netanyahu tweeted before his departure for New Delhi.

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On Monday, Netanyahu will be given a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhawan which will be followed by the wreath laying at the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi. He will also call on President Ram Nath Kovind on the same day.

His itinerary includes visits to Gujarat and Mumbai.

The Israeli leader, accompanied by dozens of Israeli businessmen, will visit the Centre of Excellence in Agriculture at Vadrad in Gujarat and interact with business leaders in Mumbai.

Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife Sara, would be travelling to Agra to see the Taj Mahal on Tuesday and return to Delhi to participate in the Raisina Dialogue.

Modi's meeting with Netanyahu in Jerusalem in July a year ago saw India and Israel upgrading bilateral relations to a strategic partnership with special focus on agriculture and water.

Modi's standalone visit to Israel in July this year celebrated 25 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu arrives on a six-day India visit