Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in New Delhi on Sunday afternoon for a six-day state visit. He is the second Israeli prime minister to visit India in the last 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The first was Ariel Sharon, who was hosted by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in September 2003. During his stay, Netanyahu is also expected to visit Gujarat and Mumbai.
Netanyahu’s visit comes six months after PM Narendra Modi became the first-ever Indian PM to visit Israel. Netanyahu had received PM Modi at the airport then. On Sunday, PM Modi returned the gesture by receiving Netanyahu today.
Benjamin Netanyahu visit LIVE updates
9.00 pm: PM Narendra Modi hosts dinner for Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu
6.00 pm: PM of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu called on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Delhi.
4.25 pm: After the warm gesture by PM Modi, Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted, “Thank you to my good friend, Indian PM Narendra Modi, who surprised me with a personal welcome at the airport upon my arrival in India. Together we will bring the relations between our countries to new heights!”
Thank you to my good friend, Indian Prime Minister @narendramodi , who surprised me with a personal welcome at the airport upon my arrival in India. Together we will bring the relations between our countries to new heights! 🇮🇱🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/bPZftC4caF
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) January 14, 2018
3.30 pm: Meanwhile, Congress took a jibe at PM Modi’s diplomacy and posted a video on its official Twitter handle with the caption: With Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu visiting India, we look forward to more hugs from PM Modi.
— Congress (@INCIndia) January 14, 2018
3.20 pm: Meanwhile, the Nariman House, that was under siege during the 26/11 terror attacks, is being converted into a ‘living memorial’ dedicated to those killed in the carnage. A formal announcement on the setting up of the memorial will be made during the Mumbai visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week.
Teen Murti Chowk is now Teen Murti Haifa Chowk in memory of supreme sacrifice by Indian soldiers to liberate Haifa in Israel in 1918. PM@narendramodi and @IsraeliPM Netanhayu laid wreath at Teen Murti memorial. #ShalomNamaste pic.twitter.com/lcPJB24YEm
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) January 14, 2018
3.00 pm: PM Modi’s inscription in the visitors’ book at Teen Murti says, “It is the 100th anniversary of the end of World War-1. Many golden pages of the sacrifices of Indian braves are written in the history of both World War. One of these pages was written 100 years ago, in the sacrifice of Indian soldiers at Haifa. The sacrifice commemorated at Teen Murti observes its centenary. Naming spot as Teen Murti – Haifa Chowk, marks this historic occasion. In presence of the Prime Minister of Israel, we pay homage to the brave soldiers. Salute to the great Indian traditions of selfless sacrifice and penance.”
2.55 pm: PM Narendra Modi took to Twitter to welcome his “friend” Netanyahu.
2.25 pm: Modi and Netanyahu sign visitor’s book at Teen Murti Chowk.
2.20 pm: Army chief General Bipin Rawat and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar welcome Netanyahu and Modi at the Teen Murti chowk.
2.15 pm: Netanyahu and Modi reach Teen Murti Chowk to attend ceremony for renaming the place as Teen Murti Haifa Chowk.
1.56 pm: Benjamin Netanyahu meets PM Narendra Modi.
1.34 pm: Netanyahu arrives in India.
1.30 pm: PM Narendra Modi arrives at Delhi Airport to receive Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
1.15 pm: The economic relationship is also going to figure in the talks, as the two sides are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement. While they are expected to hold the next round of talks in February, the two leaders are expected to take stock of the progress in the negotiations.
1.00 pm: There is cooperation on security issues between the two countries, including a Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism. In February 2014, India and Israel signed three important agreements on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Cooperation in Homeland Security, and Protection of Classified Material.
12.45 pm: “India imports critical defence technologies from Israel. There are regular exchanges between the armed forces. The leaders may dwell upon the subject more openly than in the past,” a government source told The Indian Express. Read more here.
12.30 pm: Ahead of the visit, Israel’s ambassador Daniel Carmon said the focus would be on “innovation”, with Israel being a country of “start-ups”. Officials said the two sides are likely to sign a slew of pacts on start-ups.
12.15 pm: Modi will host a private dinner for the Israeli leader, who will also visit Gujarat and Mumbai.
12.00 pm: Later in the afternoon, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is expected to call on the visiting Israeli PM at the Taj Palace Hotel, where he will be staying.
11.45 am: Bilateral talks are scheduled to take place on Monday, and all eyes are on the “substance” of the visit.
11.30 am: There are various accounts of this battle -– all narrate the brave valour with which the lancers undertook the assault on the garrisoned town protected by a joint force of Ottomans, Germany and Austria Hungary. The capture of Haifa cleared a route for the Allies to supplies to the city through the sea. 44 Indian soldiers had made the ultimate sacrifice during the liberation of the city in World War I. Till date, the 61 Cavalry celebrates 23rd September as its Raising Day or “Haifa Day.”
11.15 am: The three bronze statues at Teen Murti represent the Hyderabad, Jodhpur and Mysore Lancers who were part of the 15 Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade. The brigade carried out the victorious assault on the fortified city of Haifa on 23rd September 1918, during World War I.
11.00 am: Immediately after he arrives in Delhi, Netanyahu will join PM Modi and head to the Teen Murti Memorial for a ceremony. The two leaders will lay a wreath, and sign the visitor’s book. The ceremony will also mark the formal renaming of Teen Murti Chowk as the Teen Murti Haifa Chowk by the NDMC.