Israeli PM Netanyahu eyes trade, defense ties on India visit

Published: January 15, 2018

STORY: This is the dawn of a new era, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday (January 15) about his six-day visit to India aimed at boosting trade and defense ties.

Netanyahu, flanked by his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, was addressing mediapersons after he was accorded a ceremonial reception at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi. He inspected the guard of honour at the red sand-stone forecourt of the British-era palace.

On his maiden visit to India, Netanyahu hopes to iron out differences arising from New Delhi’s decision to scrap a $500 million order to buy Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israel’s state-owned defense contractor Rafael. India is Israel’s biggest arms market, buying around $1 billion worth of weapons every year.

Netanyahu is accompanied by a 130-member delegation drawn from the cyber and agriculture sectors as well as from defense. As well as New Delhi, they will also visit India’s financial capital Mumbai and Modi’s home-state of Gujarat. The two countries have grown closer since Modi became Indian prime minister in 2014, widening commercial cooperation beyond their longstanding defense ties.

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