Netanyahu in Talks for Another India Visit in Two Weeks; Major Arms Deal on Agenda

Preferred date for Netanyahu's visit is the second week of February, Haaretz has learned; the Israeli premier and Narendra Modi are both bracing for the upcoming elections in their countries

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stand in the Mediterranean Sea on their visit to a mobile desalination unit on July 6, 2017
Kobi Gideon/GPO

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to arrange another visit to India, scheduled for the second week of February. National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat recently visited India and met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is also preparing for an upcoming election.

On his trip, Ben-Shabbat flew on an Air India flight from Israel through Saudi airspace, which is one of the results of the understandings reached during Netanyahu’s previous visit to India.

During his visit, Netanyahu spoke to Modi on the phone and the two planned a second meeting. Indian media outlets report the government is interested in an additional security deal with the Israeli arms industry.The two previously met in India a year ago.

Ben-Shabbat also met with Ajit Doval, director general of the defense ministry and national security adviser, as well as with the chiefs of the Indian security establishment. 

The Prime Minister's Bureau said that the meeting entailed "discussions regarding relations between the two countries, promoting security deals, as well as agreements on additional actions to promote security, technological and socioeconomical cooperation between Israel and India."

During Netanyahu's previous visit, a deal was made to purchase anti-tank Spike missiles from the Rafael company, which has recently been delayed.

According to data from the security export wing of the Defense Ministry from 2017, 58 percent of Israeli arms exports goes out to Asian and Pacific countries. This number was greatly influenced by a deal between India and Israel Aerospace Industries for two billion dollars, as well as deals made with the Phillippines.