Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in PM Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat on Wednesday. Netanyahu was welcomed with a grand roadshow and then he proceeded towards Sabarmati Ashram. The two leaders also attended an exhibition of start-ups near Ahmedabad today.
Netanyahu, on a six-day state visit to India, arrived in New Delhi on January 14 and was personally received by PM Modi. He said the Indian PM had ‘revolutionised’ India-Israel relations. The two countries inked nine pacts in key areas including in the sector of oil and gas sector and cyber-security.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu, along with his wife Sara, visited the Taj Mahal in Agra. Later in the evening, the Israel leader delivered a lecture at the third Raisina Dialogue wherein he underlined India and Israel’s strong commitment towards counter-terrorism efforts. Netanyahu also said he is discussing with India ways to strengthen security cooperation against Islamist extremism that both democracies faced.
Netanyahu India visit Highlights
9.56 pm: Netanyahu has reached Mumbai. He is expected to meet business leaders, pay tribute to 26/11 victims during his stay in Mumbai.
6.45 pm: Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu & his wife Sara Netanyahu depart for Mumbai from Ahmedabad.
5.30 pm: “Our relation with Israel through Centre of Excellence has to be taken forward to bring about change. I thank PM Netanyahu for taking time for our farmers and talking to them,” the PM said.
5.28 pm: “We are working towards doubling farmer incomes by 2022. For this, optimum utilisation of land resources, ensuring minimum wastage and understanding the needs of the market assume importance,” Modi said.
5.26 pm: “We are all aware of the strides Israel has made in agriculture, including when it comes to managing water resources and irrigation. Israel shows the way on how to transform a nation with the agriculture sector at the core,” Modi said.
5.25 pm: Addressing a gathering at Centre of Excellence in Vadrad, Modi said, “With the help of technology and advanced science, Israel has brought revolution in the sector of agriculture.”
5.24 pm: “I know something about Mashav. We operate in many countries but the biggest project that Mashav has is here in India because India has a leader, has a vision,” said Netanyahu.
5.05 pm: PM Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu reach Centre of Excellence in Gujarat’s Vadrad.
— ANI (@ANI) January 17, 2018
2.55 pm: “The ‘i’ of iCreate has been kept in small letters for a reason. The biggest hurdle towards creativity is ‘I’ becoming big. If ‘I’ is in capital along with creativity, then it means overconfidence is coming in the way,” said Modi.
2.50 pm: “Four days ago, ISRO made a century in satellite launching. Such success needs dedication, hard work and dreams. Such energy is filled in our scientists and youth,” said PM Modi at iCreate Centre.
2.46 pm: “We are working towards making entire system in our country innovation-friendly, so that ideas are formed from intent, innovations are formed from ideas and a New India is formed from innovations,” PM Modi said.
2.44 pm: “The technology and creativity of Israel influence the world. Israel has proved it to the world that commitment of the people and not size of the nation takes the country forward,” the PM said.
2.40 pm: “When I launched iCreate a few years ago, I said I wanted to link it with Israel. My motive was that this institution and our youth is benefited by Israel’s experience and their start-up environment,” Modi said.
2.36 pm: “When a farmer sows a small plant, coming generations receive the fruits of that huge tree. The farmer’s soul feels elated with this. We are feeling the same happiness on the inauguration of iCreate,” the PM said.
2.34 pm: PM Modi begins his address at the iCreate Centre. “When I went to Israel last year, I made up my mind that this foundation should have more strong relations with Israel. From that time, I was waiting for my friend Benjamin Netanyahu to come to India. He is here & now we are inaugurating this foundation,” Modi said.
2.30 pm: Concluding his address, Netanyahu said, “Jai Hind! Jai Bharat! Jai Israel! Thank you Prime Minister Modi, thank you all.”
2.28 pm: “Many Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the liberation of Haifa were Gujaratis. Thank you Gujarat,” Netanyahu said.
2.27 pm: “PM Modi and I are both very young and both very optimistic. We are young in our thinking & optimistic about the future,” Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu said.
2.23 pm: Beginning his address, Netanyahu said, “I am delighted to be here. The world knows about iPads and iPods, there is one more i that the world needs to know about, that is iCreate.”
2.22 pm: PM Modi and Israel PM Netanyahu reach iCreate Center in Ahmedabad’s Deo Dholera Village.
1.25 pm: Modi and Netanyahu reach icreate centre in Deo Dholera Village in Ahmedabad, which is holding an exhibition of start-ups.
12.35 pm : “We were told he would come in an open jeep. We are a tiny community and it would mean a lot of they even stopped for two minutes. This was a flop show. They could have at least waved to us. Why did they then call us to stand,” Joseph Pingle, a canteen owner, told The Indian Express.
12.30 pm: Meanwhile, the Jewish community outside the Sabarmati Ashram was disappointed when the convoy of the two leaders passed by without halting to greet them. “This is very disappointing. We have been here since morning. Many have taken a leave from the office. We have bouquets and were hoping we could at least see both the leaders briefly. But they just flew past. We did not even know when they went,” Margalita Abraham, who works in a school, told The Indian Express. Read more here.
12.25 pm: The two leaders leave Sabarmati Ashram. “An inspiring visit to the hearth of one of humanity’s great prophets of inspiration– Mahatma Gandhi,” he wrote in a message at the ashram.
12.15 pm: PM Modi, Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram, fly a kite at Sabarmati Ashram.
12.05 pm: In case you are just joining us, here’s a reminder that the Jews in Gujarat, who are just 300, are hopeful that Netanyahu’s visit would “accelerate the process” of getting minority status for the community in Gujarat.
12.00 pm: PM Narendra Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu reach Sabarmati Ashram. Jews at the spot were disappointed as as the two leaders did not stop or wave at them. The car went by in a flash. Our reporter at the venue says the Jewish community is hoping they can catch a better glimpse when the two leaders come out of the ashram.
11.50 am: After visiting Sabarmati Ashram, Modi and Netanyahu are scheduled to take a helicopter to the campus of icreate, or the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology, an autonomous institution located in Dev Dholera village, about 50 km from Ahmedabad, for the exhibition.
11.30 am: PM Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu’s begin their roadshow in Ahmedabad.
11.25 am: Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu arrive in Ahmedabad. The two were received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
11.10 am: Did you know that during the Cold War, India did not have open relations with Israel, leaning heavily in favor of the Palestinians? Over the past quarter of a century ties between the two countries have warmed.
11.00 am: As Ahmedabad gears up to welcome the Israeli PM, the members of the Jewish community of the city have been assigned a spot near the Sabarmati Ashram where they will be allowed to stand and wave to Netanyahu and Modi during their visit. The community leaders had, however, sought for a meeting with Netanyahu, but were denied due to security reasons.
10.50 am: An Ahmedabad civic body official told PTI that a joint roadshow on an 8 km-stretch from the city airport to the Sabarmati Ashram is also on the cards. Modi and Japanese premier Shinzo Abe had held a joint roadshow during the latter’s visit here in September last year. The Indian premier had played a guide as he showed Abe and his wife around the Sabarmati Ashram.
10.40 am: Twenty students from the Best School will perform “Israeli folk dances” during the roadshow to welcome the Israeli PM.
10.30 am: PM Narendra Modi arrived in Gujarat to receive Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu later today.
10.20 am: Meanwhile, the Jews in Gujarat, who are just 300, are hopeful that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the state on Wednesday would “accelerate the process” of getting minority status for the community in Gujarat. Jews enjoy minority status in two states — West Bengal and Maharashtra.
10.10 am: In a bid to strengthen defence cooperation – the centre-piece of the bilateral relationship – Modi, who refers to Netanyahu as his “friend”, on Monday invited Israeli defence companies to take advantage of the liberalised FDI regime and participate in “Make in India” with Indian companies. This was New Delhi’s one of the most pronounced public articulation of Indo-Israeli defence cooperation in the last two-and-half decades. Read more here.
10.00 am: Meanwhile, P R Kumaraswamy asks in Express Opinion: Why did Rahul and Netanyahu not meet? Click here to read his views.
9.55 am: It is one of the eight such centres envisioned under IIAP to train farmers in protective and precision farming, the centre’s incharge told The Indian Express. The centre has been training farmers in using Israeli technology and also giving them healthy saplings from their own seeds. A Centre of Excellence for Mangoes is in Talala of Gir Somnath, and one for dates in Bhuj will be jointly inaugurated through a web link by the two PMs today.
9.50 am: On their trip to Gujarat Wednesday, PM Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu will also visit a Centre of Excellence for Vegetables in Vadrad village, Sabarknatha. The 10.5-hectare centre of excellence has been set under the joint initiative Indo-Israel Agricultural Project (IIAP).
9.40 am: The exhibition is at the campus of icreate, or the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology, an autonomous institution located in Dev Dholera village, about 50 km from Ahmedabad. “About 35 institutes, which are incubators of Gujarat’s ecosystem will, showcase their start-up projects — this is an exhibition of the innovators themselves,” Anupam Jalote, CEO of icreate, told The Indian Express. “A selection panel evaluated the best start-up projects in Gujarat.”
9.35 am: From the first solar-based indoor cooking stove to an automatic sanitary napkin burner that produces only sterile ash as byproduct, these are among the innovations that will be shown to PM Modi and Netanyahu at an exhibition of start-ups near Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
9.25 am: In today’s Express Opinion section, BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav writes: “Swagat hai mere dost! Why did it take so long? We have been waiting for you for 70 years,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Narendra Modi when the latter visited Israel in July last year. Netanyahu was right. It took 70 years after Independence for an Indian prime minister to set foot on Israel, and 25 years after India became the last major country to establish full diplomatic ties with that country in 1992. Read more here.
9.15 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will receive Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu in Gujarat on Wednesday. Both PMs are scheduled to inaugurate iCreate Center at Deo Dholera Village in Ahmedabad. They will also dedicate a mobile water desalination van to Suigam taluka of Banaskantha district via video link, reported ANI.
9.10 am: Two quick prime ministerial visits between India and Israel during the last few months complete the normalisation of bilateral relations that began in 1992. This is a good moment for India to end its excessive politicisation of the relations with Israel. Read more in today Express Editorial here.
9.00 am: Read all updates on Netanyahu’s Agra visit and Raisina Dialogue lecture here.
8.30 am: Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu will leave for Ahmedabad from New Delhi at 9 am. He is scheduled to land at the Sardar Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad by 10.30 am.