The South Asian Times

16 January 2018 22:18 PM

Netanyahu's visit to focus on economic issues: Israeli daily

By IANS

Jerusalem, Jan 14: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to India is expected to focus on economic issues and Palestine will not be the central part of discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an Israeli daily said on Sunday. 

"Like Modi's visit to Israel last July, this trip will focus more on economic and technological cooperation and development than on regional issues," the Jerusalem Post said as the Netanyahu became the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit New Delhi after 2003.

The reciprocal visit underlined "the strength of the relationship between the two countries", the Post said.

The daily said this did not mean that geopolitical issues would not be discussed.

Modi is expected to visit the Palestinian Authority next month as part of a trip that will also take him to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but this issue will not be the central part of Netanyahu's discussions, it said.

The Post quoted unnamed Israeli diplomatic officials as saying they did not expect India's vote against Israel on the Jerusalem issue in the UN General Assembly last month to cloud the visit.

"The issue is behind us," one diplomatic official said.

On Monday, Netanyahu will be formally welcomed at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, followed by a visit to Rajghat, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.

From there Netanyahu will go to Hyderabad House, for another meeting - and lunch - with Modi. He will then meet with India's President Ram Nath Kovind, followed by an event with Indian and Israeli business leaders, the Post said.

Representatives of some 100 top Israeli firms were accompanying Netanyahu, and a number of economic round tables are scheduled during the visit, it said.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu will go to the Taj Mahal in Agra. He will return to Delhi that night and be the keynote speaker at a symposium sponsored each year by the Indian External Affairs Ministry and a leading think tank. Modi will address the symposium as well.

Netanyahu will travel to Modi's home state of Gujarat on Wednesday, to Mumbai on Thursday and is scheduled to arrive home a few hours before Shabbat on Friday.

Netanyahu's son Yair had been invited on the India trip but he did not join his family Saturday night when they embarked on their trip, the Post said.

"Last week, a secret tape was aired on Channel 2 in which the Prime Minister's son, as he was driven around to Tel Aviv strip joints in a car and with a security team paid for by the state, made disparaging comments about women and boasted that his father had arranged a massive business deal for the father of one of his friends," the Post said.

Update: 14 Jan, 2018

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