Ties with India intact, says Israeli Ambassador

Casey Dawson
January 14, 2018

The visit is being seen as extremely significant as the two countries, are celebrating 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties. Around one-third of Israel's defence production is bought by India.

The Ambassador described innovation as a "cross-cutting issue" and said this would be reflected in the discussions between Modi and Netanyahu.

Hebrew media reported Saturday that Netanyahu's son Yair was scheduled to join his parents on the official visit but was forced to remain at home as her remains entwined in controversy after the leaking of controversial recordings of Yair making crude remarks outside a Tel Aviv strip club in 2015.

The visiting dignitary will be accompanied by a delegation of 130 Israeli business leaders.

Netanyahu will spend a day in Ahmedabad, a sort of personal day out with PM Narendra Modi, including a visit to Gandhi Ashram. Netanyahu will visit the Taj Mahal hotel and Chabad House, where he will be accompanied by 11-year-old Moshe Holtzberg, who as a baby survived the attack in which his parents were killed.

The same can be expected of Netanyahu's reciprocal visit this week to India, with an itinerary that will be packed with political consultations and business-development meetings, one worldwide conference, and numerous ceremonies, cultural events, and site visits.

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In the political area, Netanyahu will face some difficulties. India, on the other hand, sees Iran as a strategic partner in establishing logistical links to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Russian Federation through the Chabahar port, being developed with active Indian participation. "Sometimes it is India that comes to Israel with a request and sometimes Israel comes to India with a request". The reasons for this were many, including domestic politics in a country with a sizeable Muslim minority, the Cold War, and India's leadership in the Non-Aligned Movement, the country's reliance on Gulf oil for its energy needs, and the almost 7 million Indian workers in the Gulf region, whose remittances contribute more than $30 billion annually to the Indian economy.

Netanyahu's visit comes after India voted in the United Nations against US' decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, a vote Israel wanted otherwise.

A meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin is also in the works.

Again in 1971, Israel helped India during the India-Pakistan war. In 2009, Barak 8 deal was signed between India and Israel.

Thus, despite the bloated rhetoric by Rightwing elements on both sides, ties between Israel and India will remain transactional. The Israeli leader would be meeting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also the same day.

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