Israeli PM Netanyahu on India visit; eyes trade

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will break protocol to receive Netanyahu and his wife Sara, at the airport on Sunday afternoon, beginning a prime ministerial visit from Israel 15 years since Ariel Sharon came here in 2003. Among other agenda of the day, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will call on the visiting dignitary. They will also visit the iCreate innovation campus and centre.

Netanyahu would be only the second Israeli Prime Minister to visit India since diplomatic relations were established between the two countries in 1992.

Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and pressed the importance of maintaining Iran's nuclear accord, the Elysee Palace said on Saturday. It wasn't clear why India scrapped the deal before the contract was signed.

The Israeli leader has also grabbed every opportunity to emphasise on his "personal chemistry" with his Indian counterpart, including at the United Nations General Assembly in September where he shared the memories of Modi's three-day visit to Israel from July 4-6. Now, it is learnt that the government is considering buying the missiles through G-to-G route.

India had last month joined 127 other countries to vote in the UNGA in favour of a resolution opposing the recent decision of US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Israel and India have developed close ties in high-tech and defense cooperation.

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In Mumbai, Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet Jewish community leaders and select members of the Indian business community.

"Bollywood stars have considerable influence around the world", said Cohen, adding that Israel wanted to push the Indian film industry to shoot a film in the Jewish state.

"Since we talk about democracies, similar values, similar challenges..., the relationship is so strong between both the countries that our feeling is (that) nothing can reverse it", he said.

He said Netanyahu was bringing with him 130 businesspeople, "which reflects the enthusiasm in Israel to do more business with India".

Netanyahu is also likely to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra and will be in Mumbai for a business meet before he flies home next Friday.

Daniel Carmon, the Israeli ambassador to India, said that the Israeli-India ties would withstand any troubles.