Netanyahu's India Agenda: Business, Ceremonies and a Little Bollywood

Nine commercial agreements between the countries will be signed during Netanyahu's India trip; Netanyahu will also attend a memorial ceremony for victims of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
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Modi greets Netanyahu today in Delhi
Modi greets Netanyahu today in DelhiCredit: ADNAN ABIDI/REUTERS
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to India late on Saturday night for a six-day visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations.

The trip will also reciprocate Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modis visit to Israel about six months ago.

>> India's Modi surprises Netanyahu at airport Netanyahu's six-day visit to India: Here's the full itinerary

The visit is expected to focus on business ties between the two countries. Netanyahu will be accompanied by around 130 Israeli businesspeople representing some 100 companies in the cybersecurity, military, water, energy, agriculture, health and food industries.

As Haaretz reported last week, these businessmen include senior executives of Aeronautics Defense Systems, an Israeli drone maker which is currently under criminal investigation by the polices international crimes division. The investigation is under a partial gag order.

The Israel Export Institute, which put together the list of businessmen accompanying Netanyahu, said it was unaware of the investigation, even though it has been widely reported in the media. According to media reports, Aeronautics is suspected of having operated a suicide drone in Azerbaijan against a manned Armenian army position.

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.

Nine commercial agreements will be signed during the visit: A memorandum of understanding on gas and oil, a memorandum of understanding on renewable energy, an upgrade of the existing aviation agreement, an agreement on joint ventures in industrial research and development, a memorandum of understanding on cybersecurity, a deal to promote reciprocal investments, an agreement between Jerusalems Shaare Zedek Medical Center and the Indian Health Ministry on supplementary medicine, an agreement between the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and the Indian Science Ministry on space research, and an agreement on joint movie productions.

Netanyahu will hold several meetings with Modi as well as with other cabinet ministers and Indian President Ram Nath Kovind. He will also dedicate a square in New Delhi named after the city of Haifa. He will visit a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi in the capital Delhi, the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat, where Gandhi lived for 12 years.

He will also attend a memorial ceremony for the victims of the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, whose targets included the Taj Mahal Hotel and the local Chabad house. Netanyahu will be accompanied at this ceremony by 11-year-old Moshe Holtzberg, who lost his parents in the Chabad house attack. After the ceremony, Netanyahu will meet with leaders of the Indian Jewish community.

Also on his agenda will be a meeting with representatives of Bollywood, the Indian film industry. He will return to Israel on Friday afternoon.

Netanyahus wife Sara will accompany him on the trip but his son Yair will not, even though he had originally planned to go and even obtained the necessary visa.



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