Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday morning received a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present at the event.
After the welcome ceremony, Netanyahu said the visit to India has been “deeply moving” for him and his wife. He said the visit was a dawn of a new era in the friendship of Tel Aviv and India.
“My visit comes after Prime Minister Modi’s historic visit to Israel last year,” Netanyahu told reporters. “His visit brought immense enthusiasm to Israel-India ties. These visits will strengthen relations between the two countries and its people.”
The visit heralds a flourishing partnership to bring prosperity, peace and progress, the Israeli leader said.
Netanyahu and his wife then paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat. In praise of Mahatma Gandhi, the Israeli prime minister, in a note in the visitor’s book at Raj Ghat, wrote: “Such grandeur and simplicity in honour of modern India’s founding fathers, one of the world’s greatest spiritual leaders.” He signed it off saying, “In deepest friendship and respect”.
On Sunday, Netanyahu had dubbed the India-Israel relationship as a “marriage made in heaven”. However, he added that while Israel was disappointed by India’s vote at the United Nations against the United States’ decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“But this visit is a testimony that our relationship is moving on so many fronts forward,” Netanyahu told India Today during an interview. “I don’t think one vote affects a general trend you can see in many other votes and these visits.”
Netanyahu, who arrived in India on Sunday for a six-day visit, will meet Modi at Hyderabad House later on Monday. The two leaders will hold summit talks where the two countries are expected to sign several Memorandums of Understanding covering various sectors, including defence, oil and gas, renewable energy, cyber security among others.
Later on Monday, Netanyahu will address India-Israel Business Summit (Including Bridge of Innovation) organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Delhi.
Besides Delhi, the Israeli prime minister will visit Agra, Gujarat and Mumbai along with Modi during his six-day stay in India.