PM Narendra Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu issue a joint statement in New Delhi today
India and Israel signed nine agreements today including ones on cooperation in the oil and gas sector and film co-production as Prime Minister Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu held talks in Delhi. A joint press statement that followed was marked by a positive chemistry between the two leaders, with the Prime Minister referring to Netanyahu as "my friend Bibi" and Mr Netanyahu calling the PM "Narendra" and describing him as India and Israel signed nine agreements today at bilateral meetings led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, who praised PM Modi as a "a revolutionary in the true sense of the term," recalling that he was the first Indian leader to visit "Israel in 3,000 years."
Here's your 10-point cheatsheet to this big story:
- In his remarks, Prime Minister Modi said there was a desire to do more in the India-Israel relationship. "We reviewed the progress in our relations. Our discussions were wide ranging and intensive. Marked by desire to do more," said PM Modi, who had visited Israel in July last year.
- "I have a reputation of being impatient in getting results. It's an open secret that so are you. Last year in Tel Aviv, you had expressed intent to cut down bureaucratic red tape. In India, we are well in our way to doing just that. We have imparted our shared impatience," the Prime Minister said.
- PM Modi also said he had invited "Israeli companies to take advantage of the liberalised FDI regime to make more in India."
- Mr Netanyahu said he was thrilled about the film production agreement, stating, "My wife and I are very happy that we are going to Bollywood." The Israeli PM is accompanied by his wife Sara on a six-day tour to India, during which they will visit the Taj Mahal and also Mumbai where they will meet Bollywood celebrities.
- Mr Netanyahu, only the second Israeli PM to visit India and the first since Ariel Sharon in 2003, pitched India-Israel cooperation in technology saying, "Israel is a fountainhead of innovation; India has enormous talent...In Israel, we achieve more with less, more crops with less water, more energy with less money."
- The Israeli Prime Minister also offered to do yoga with Mr Modi, saying, "Anytime you want to do a yoga class with me, it's a big stretch, but I'll be there."
- No mention was made of India joining 127 other countries to vote in the United Nations General Assembly in favour of a resolution opposing the recent decision of US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
- Ahead of his visit Mr Netanyahu described the relationship between the two countries as a "marriage made in heaven," and said that even though his country is "disappointed" by India's vote, "this visit is a testimony that our relationship is moving on so many fronts forward."
- On Sunday, PM Modi broke protocol to receive greeted Mr Netanyahu at the airport with a hand shake and a hug. He then hosted Mr Netanyahu and his wife for a private dinner minus senior officials.
- Just before Mr Netanyahu's visit, India called off a deal to buy 8,000 anti-tank guided missiles from Israel's state-owned defence contractor Rafael. The Indian Army and the government are reportedly discussing ways to revive the $500 million order, which was scrapped when the state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation offered to build similar missiles locally.
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