Israel PM Netanyahu's India visit: Innovation to top agenda

Violet Powell
January 14, 2018

Ahead of the Prime Ministers' visit, Carmon said there would be a meeting between the entrepreneurs from "start-up nation Israel" and people from the Start-up India initiative.

"I would have preferred another vote, to be frank", Netanyahu told journalists. "Ultimately. we would like to see improved ties translate to support in worldwide forums", he said, conceding that it "takes some time for improved relations to be expressed on the global front".

Despite the cancellation of the missile deal, India's Defence Ministry said this month it had cleared a plan worth $72 million to buy 131 Barak surface-to-air missiles built by Rafael.

In November, the defence ministry had made a decision to retract the process to acquire a batch of Spike missiles from Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defence Systems.

There is speculation about the revival of talks on India's purchase of 8,000 Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israel that was cancelled past year. At the time, Indian media reported that India's Defence Research and Development Organisation planned to develop and produce its own anti-tank missile domestically.

Netanyahu will be flying in with a 130-member business delegation as well as top officials from the Israel Innovation Authority and Israel's National Trade Commission.

Israeli ambassador to India Daniel Carmon has termed it a historic visit, which will strengthen the growing partnership between the two countries.

"I do not want to elaborate on defence issues".

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Israel is a major weapons supplier to India, exporting an average of $1 billion of military equipment each year.

In April last year the two countries signed a military deal worth almost $2 billion which includes the supply over several years of medium-range surface-to-air missiles, launchers and communications technology. Prime Minister Modi's visit was a very important milestone in that.

Cohen said Netanyahu would present one to Modi during his visit next week.

"You can imagine the effect that would have on our tourism, on Israel's exposure".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will arrive on a six-day visit to India, starting from Sunday. Meetings with President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu are also scheduled for Monday.

In addition, Netanyahu will give an inaugural speech at the Raisina Dialogue and will preside the Indo-Israeli CEO forum in Delhi.

There is still a possibility that the $500 million Indian deal for the purchase of 8,000 Spike antitank missiles from Israel, a deal that was cancelled by New Delhi barely days before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming trip to India, could be salvaged.

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