Netanyahu, Modi hail ties as India, Israel sign 9 agreements

15 Jan 2018


Visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in New Delhi on Monday, in what the two hailed as the beginning of a new era of friendship between the two nations.

The two countries today signed nine agreements on bilateral cooperation, including memoranda of understanding on cyber security, energy, including petroleum and natural gas, homoeopathy research, science and technology, aviation and film production.

During the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to this country, the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology for cooperation signed an MoU on cooperation in the field of space.

India's ministry of AYUSH and Israel's Centre for Integrative Complementary Medicine, Shaare Zedek Medical Center also signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of research in Homeopathic Medicine.

The two countries also signed a protocol on amendments to the Air Transport Agreement, besides signing an agreement on film co-production between India and Israel.

Indian oil Corporation and Israel's Phinergy Ltd signed a letter of intent for cooperation in the area of metal-air batteries.

IOCL also signed a letter of intent with Yeda Research and Development Co Ltd for cooperation in the area of concentrated solar thermal technologies.

According to a source in the prime minister's delegation, among the issues discussed between the two leaders were greater recognition of Israel's status as a strategic partner of India and an increase in trade and investments by India in Israel.

In addition, the advancement of security deals and regional security issues were also discussed.

Netanyahu thanked Modi for his "exceptional friendship and hospitality," and said he was "deeply moved" by the ceremony honouring his visit. He called Modi a "revolutionary leader," who had revolutionised the relationship between the two nations.

The Israeli prime minister said that three things linked the two nations - an ancient past, a vibrant present, and the seizing of a positive future. He also commented that both countries "know the pain of terror," but they "fight back but never give in."

The nine deals were signed following a private meeting between Netanyahu and Modi during which national security advisors of the two countries were also present.

The meeting at Hyderbad House will be followed by meetings between accompanying Israeli trade representatives and their Indian counterparts.

Netanyahu's six-day visit, which began on Saturday, marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations.

Prior to the meeting Netanyahu visited the memorial site of late Indian statesman Mahatma Gandhi.

Netanyahu is accompanied by 130 Israeli businesspeople representing some 100 companies in the cybersecurity, military, water, energy, agriculture, health and food industries also.

The business delegation is expected to attend a forum of CEOs, for which Modi will also be present, two seminars with representatives of Indian companies and tours of major Indian corporations. The agenda also includes a meeting on start-ups and a meeting between Netanyahu and senior Indian businesspeople in Mumbai.

Members of the Israeli delegation are working to salvage the recently terminated $500-million anti-tank Spike missile deal. On Sunday, Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat met with his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval to discuss security ties between the two countries, including the sale of Spike missiles, which was cancelled by India.

In an interview with the Indian media, Netanyahu was asked if the deal's cancellation will impact on the defense relationship between the two countries. Netanyahu responded, saying that he hopes the visit will help to solve the problem, adding that he thinks there's a good chance that they'll be able to reach a fair solution on the matter by the end of the visit.

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