In Video: Israel PM Netanyahu leaves for 'historic' visit to India
| Jan. 14, 2018, 1:36 p.m.
Jerusalem, Jan 14: Keen to strengthen bilateral relations "even more", Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today left for India on a six-day visit along with the largest business delegation that has ever accompanied an Israeli premier on an overseas tour.
"This evening I am leaving on an historic visit to India.
I will meet with the Prime Minister, my friend Narendra Modi, with the Indian President and with many other leaders. We will sign very many agreements," Netanyahu said in statement.
"We are strengthening ties between Israel and this important global power. This serves our security, economic, trade and tourism interests, as well as many other areas. This is a great blessing for the State of Israel," he said.
"Indian Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi is a close friend of Israel and of mine and I appreciate the fact that he will accompany me on extensive parts of my visit," Netanyahu said just before leaving for New Delhi.
"On this visit I intend to strengthen bilateral relations even more. This visit is an opportunity to enhance cooperation with a global economic, security, technology and tourism power," he added.
The visit marks 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and takes place about six months after Modi's trip to Israel, the first by an Indian prime minister to the Jewish state.
Netanyahu's visit to India is only the second one by an Israeli prime minister and comes after a gap of 15 years.
Former prime minister Ariel Sharon visited India in 2003.
Netanyahu will be visiting Delhi, Agra, Gujarat and Mumbai and will be accompanied by Modi on extensive portions of his visit, a press statement said.
He will hold meetings with President Ram Nath Kovind and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, apart from Modi.
Several MoUs, including in the field of oil and gas, renewable energy, amended protocol for airports, cyber security, and co-production of films and documentaries, will be signed between the two sides.
Israel's Saare Tzedek hospital would be signing an agreement with the ministry of health and family welfare.
Informed sources here said that this relates to sharing of knowledge in the field of homoeopathy and Ayurveda that have been gaining popularity in Israel over the last few years.
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology would also be signing an agreement with the ministry of science and technology, sources here said.
Netanyahu is leading a high-profile delegation comprising 130 businessmen from 102 Israeli companies drawn from areas like agriculture, water, cyber security, health care and security, on his trip.
Israel will be investing USD 68.6 million to boost cooperation with India in areas like tourism, technology, agriculture and innovation over a period of four years, a senior official here said ahead of Netanyahu's visit.