Netanyahu departs for India while son stays in Israel embattled in controversy

Benjamin Netanyahu

The visiting Israeli leader will spend a day in Prime Minister Modi's home state of Gujarat.

On Tuesday, the minister will leave for Agra and visit Taj Mahal in the city.

PM Modi would be accompanying Netanyahu to Gujarat on Wednesday where he will be welcomed with a roadshow in Ahmadabad. Prime Minister Modi will escort Netanyahu from the airport in Ahmedabad in an open-top Gypsy decorated with flowers for the nine-km ride to Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati ashram that will constitute the much talked about road show.

In Mumbai on January 18, Netanyahu would be meeting with the Indian Jewish community. The visit comes merely six months after PM Modi visited the Jewish state, becoming the first Indian premier to do so.

On Thursday, Netanyahu will have a power Breakfast with Indian CEOs and attend a business seminar.

Also, as part of the Modi government's effort to woo global manufacturers to set up units in the defence sector, the government has exempted them from excise and customs duties previous year.

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PM Modi had received a rousing welcome during his visit to the Jewish state in July a year ago when PM Netanyahu, who referred to the Indian leader as his "dear friend", had received him at the airport and spent the next three days by his side.

Indias Kalyani group and Israels state-run Rafael Advanced Defence Systems had commissioned a Rs 70 crore production facility near Hyderabad in August past year, anticipating that the Israeli firm would bag the contract. They will inaugurate a research facility for cultivation of dates in Kutch by remote control from Sabarkantha, the chief minister said.

"If the bilateral trade is extended to all relevant sectors, and the market becomes more accessible to companies from the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) sectors in both countries, the volume of trade can reach at least $10 billion within the next few years", Grossman added, pointing to the current bilateral trade volume pegged at around $4.5 billion.

The chemistry between Mr Modi and Mr Netanyahu was evident in Israel last July: the warm embraces; the walk on the beach, unaccompanied by minders; the statements affirming the challenges shared by the two countries. After some embarrassing confusion by the defence ministry cancelling a Spike missile contract with Rafael Industries of Israel, sources here said the deal was back on track as a government-to-government contract, in the manner of the Rafale deal.

Israel is also assisting India with post-harvest management techniques in agriculture and launching of a national campaign for conservation of water.

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