File Photo: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu with PM Narendra Modi. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in New Delhi this afternoon, six months after PM Modi's first-ever visit to Israel.
PM Modi broke protocol to receive the Israel PM and his wife Sara at the Delhi airport. Modi was of course just returning the gesture; he too had been received at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv by Netanyahu when he had visited Israel.
Netanyahu is the second Israeli PM to visit India, the first one being Ariel Sharon, who was hosted by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in September 2003.
Netanyahu, who is here for a six-day visit and is accompanied by a 130-member delegation from various sectors, wrote on Twitter that his "historic visit" was a "great blessing" for Israel.
We will sign very many agreements. We are strengthening ties between Israel and this important global power.— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) January 14, 2018
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.
They will then head to Teen Murti monument in Delhi where the two leaders will lay a wreath at the monument, commemorating the role of three Indian regiments who fought at the battle of Haifa over a century ago - and celebrate the growing friendship between the two countries.
They will be joined by External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj later in the afternoon at the Taj Palace Hotel, where Netanyahu will be staying.
Modi will also host a private dinner for Netanyahu on Sunday.
The visiting dignitary, on Monday, will be given a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhawan which will be followed by the wreath laying at the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi.
Bilateral talks between the two prime ministers will take place on Monday. The primary focus will be on "innovation" -- covering trade, economy, agriculture, water management etc. Discussion on defence and security components are also expected to happen as they have been a strong part of India-Israel relations for a while.
Officials have informed that the two countries will possibly sign a number of pacts on startups and also issue a joint press statement. The Israeli Prime Minister will call on President Ram Nath Kovind later in the day.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu, along with his wife Sara, will leave for Agra to see Taj Mahal and then visit Delhi to participate in an annual multilateral conference, Raisina Dialogue, where he is scheduled to deliver an inaugural speech.
Netanyahu will leave for Ahmedabad on Wednesday to visit the Sabarmati Ashram and also attend an event at the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology (iCreate).
He will later visit the Centre of Excellence, Vadrad before leaving for Mumbai on the same day.
On Thursday, Netanyahu will have a power breakfast with Indian CEOs and attend a business seminar in Mumbai. He will also lay a wreath at Taj Hotel and pay a visit to Nariman House - Chabad Centre.
Next, Netanyahu will hold talks with Bollywood personalities in an exclusive "Shalom Bollywood" event, that aims at exploring business opportunities for Indian filmmakers in Israel.
There is cooperation on security issues between the two countries, including a Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, the two countries had signed three vital agreements on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Cooperation in Homeland Security, and Protection of Classified Material in February 2014.
(With inputs from ANI)