Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was welcomed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his home state Gujarat on Wednesday.
Netanyahu was received warmly at the Ahmedabad Airport. This was followed by a roadshow leading to the Sabarmati Ashram where Mahatma Gandhi had once lived. The Israeli Prime Minister’s wife, Sara, learnt how to spin on his favourite spinning wheel. The two were later reported to have described their visit to the place, also known as Gandhi Ashram, as inspiring.
After paying tributes to Mahatma Gandhi and attending an exhibition of start-ups near Ahmedabad, the Netanyahu couple also flew kites, with Prime Minister Modi helping them hone their skills in a sport that is very popular in Gujarat.
Second Israeli PM To Visit India
Netanyahu is the second Israeli Prime Minister, after Ariel Sharon, to visit India in the 25 years of diplomatic relationship between the two countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Israel last year, the first to the Jewish nation by an Indian Prime Minister.
On the first day of his visit, Delhi’s Teen Murti Chowk was renamed as “Teen Murti-Haifa Chowk” in the memory of the soldiers of the Battle of Haifa during World War 1.
The idea was also to emphasise the growing importance of India’s ties with Israel. Those present at the event included Army Chief General Bipin Rawat and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.
The second day saw Benjamin Netanyahu and PM Modi engage in talks on issues like cyber security cooperation, technology, agriculture, defence and fighting against terrorism. Both countries have signed nine Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs).
The Israeli Prime Minister visited Agra, Uttar Pradesh accompanied by his wife to see Taj Mahal, the 17th century Mughal monument on Tuesday. They were given a traditional welcome by Braj folk artists in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Netanyahu then returned to Delhi to inaugurate the third edition of the Raisina Dialogues, stressing upon the need to strengthen the pillars of economy, military and political power if India desired to emerge as a strong nation. The Israeli PM also appreciated Prime Minister Modi for India’s improved performance in ease of doing business rankings, in a recent report released by World Bank. Prime Minister Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also attended the inaugural session of the geo-political conference.
The visit to Gujarat on Wednesday saw the two Prime Ministers addressing a gathering at the Centre of Excellence in Vadrad. They also visited the iCreate Centre in a village in Ahmedabad. The Israeli Prime Minister and his delegation left for Mumbai in the evening.
Benjamin Netanyahu and Moshe Holtzberg, a survivor of the Mumbai 26/11 attacks are scheduled to visit the Chabad House in south Mumbai, Maharashtra to pay homage to the victims on Thursday.
Parts of Chabad House are being converted into a ‘living memorial’ to commemorate those who died in the terror attacks.
(All the photos are from Narendra Modi’s official Twitter account)