A day before concluding his six-day visit to India, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday paid tributes to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. He will attend multiple events in Mumbai. Earlier in the day, he had a power breakfast with Indian CEOs and then attended a business forum.
On Wednesday, Netanyahu was welcomed with a grand road show in Ahmedabad. PM Narendra Modi accompanied the Israeli PM and his wife to the Sabarmati Ashram and flew kites with the couple. The Israeli PM also attended a start-up exhibition with Modi and encouraged innovators. Describing the Indian PM as his “dear friend” Netanyahu said, “Now PM Modi is changing India by the force and vision of his leadership. He is revolutionising India. He is catapulting it into the future as one of the world’s great powers and he is doing it with the power of innovation.”
Carrying flags of India and Israel, thousands of people had lined up on the road leading to the Sabarmati Ashram. To welcome the Israel PM, 50 stages were set up along the 8-km-stretch where schoolchildren performed Indian folk dances.
Netanyahu in Mumbai LIVE UPDATES
9.55 pm: World loves Bollywood, Israel loves Bollywood, I love Bollywood, says Netanyahu
Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan,Abhishek Bachchan, Karan Johar,Subhash Ghai,Imtiaz Ali,Ronnie Screwvala,Sara Ali Khan and others with Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara. #shalombollywood pic.twitter.com/JsmX8xsdRH
— ANI (@ANI) January 18, 2018
9.45 pm: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, UTV CEO Ronnie Screwvala and Karan Johar greet Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu in Mumbai in Shalom Bollywood event.
— ANI (@ANI) January 18, 2018
3:45 pm Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu meets 26/11 survivor Moshe Holtzberg at Nariman House.
— ANI (@ANI) January 18, 2018
3:40 pm: Netanyahu paid tributes to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Netanyahu, along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, laid wreath at the memorial of the terror attack victims, that claimed 166 lives, at the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in south Mumbai under a heavy security blanket.
12.40 pm: Speaking on his Gujarat visit Wednesday, Netanyahu said, “I also visited iCreate, an impressive hub where brilliant young minds come to solve problems. I was particularly impressed with a 14-year-old boy. This was slumdog millionaire. He produces drone which goes up the sky and identifies landmines, it’ll save lives.”
12.30 pm: “This is the beginning of a wonderful ancient friendship and the possibilities are boundless. We have to bring talents of India and Israel together. 15 countries ahead of Israel in the world bank’s competitive index make me lose sleep. It isn’t Syria, but countries like Singapore, USA and Switzerland which make me lose sleep,” Netanyahu said.
12.20 pm: 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 Express Editorial here.
12.10 pm: “India also knows the value of competition and the glory of competition. How many of you know who won the 1983 World Cup? If you were not in London then you must be on streets honking when India defeated West Indies. That is competition,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying by ANI.
12.00 pm: In Wednesday’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.
11.50 am: Meanwhile, the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Agra on Tuesday was a kind of a lesson in tight security for the state agencies. A stray dog and oxen sparked some commotion and marginally disturbed the precise security time plans when Netanyahu was out to see the Taj Mahal. Read about it in today’s Delhi Confidential here.
11.35 am: In case you just joined us, business leaders who were present at the breakfast today included Ajay Piramal, Rahul Bajaj, Adi Godrej, Harsh Goenka, Anand Mahindra, Dilip Shanghvi, Ashok Hinduja, Atul Punj and Chanda Kochhar.
11.25 am: “So it is leaders. It is people. But I think the most important thing is to have it among business leaders and technological leaders and entrepreneurs like yourself. This is the cherry on the pie! What a cherry! I thought we will discuss the cherry,” Netanyahu said.
11.20 am: “In addition, there is a partnership of genuine sympathy between our people. And that is not obvious. Our two civilisations are very old and we have not met each other in real sense. There is an instant chemical reaction of tremendous solidarity and identification and I see it in my Facebook followers. They haven’t changed the algorithm yet and I see it very very strongly. We see it when we walk the streets, the responses that we get here. And Indian citizens, when they come to Israel, they can see it. It is powerful,” he said.
11.15 am: “There are 700 groups, research groups of major corporations and everyone of you feels in this room. And my purpose this morning is to leave this table that you should be convinced that you have to be among them. This is my agenda. Partnership between Israel and India is (doing) wonders. It’s on the level first of a deep personal friendship between PM Modi and myself. These things do happen, and they have,” Netanyahu said.
11.10 am: Netanyahu’s address on Thursday focussed on the importance of innovation. “Innovation doesn’t happen by itself. Some of it does. But it can be nurtured, encouraged or discouraged. The job of governments like that of PM Narendra Modi and my own is to facilitate your competitive advantages and ability to innovate. Your ability to profit and your ability to fail. This is the crux of it,” Netanyahu said.
11.05 am: While addressing the Indian CEOs on Thursday, Netanyahu said: “This is very very crucial today for you and your Israeli counterparts to meet up because the future belongs to those who innovate. We in Israel are seizing the future, you in India are seizing the future. Together, you will get there a lot quicker and also get a lot further.”
11.00 am: The Jewish community will launch ‘Namaste Shalom’, a regular monthly magazine on bilateral relations between India and Israel. The magazine would be launched at the Magen David Synagogue at Byculla in south Mumbai on Thursday, reported PTI. “This may be the first time that a magazine devoted to India-Israel relations is being launched in a Jew synagogue, underlining the close ties between the two nations,” Ralphy Jhirad, the editorial board member of the magazine, told PTI.
10.50 am: Meanwhile, on the second day of his visit to Mumbai, the 2008 terror attack survivor, Moshe Holtzberg, visited the Chabad House in Colaba once again to offer prayers at the synagogue. The second day in Mumbai was by and large peaceful for the 11-year-old, family members said, as he managed to take a tour of the city away from media glare. Read more here.
10.40 am: Netanyahu will later address the India-Israel Business Summit at the iconic Taj hotel in south Mumbai. Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis will also attend the summit, PTI reported.
10.30 am: Netanyahu meets Indian CEOs in Mumbai. “Future belongs to those who innovate. Our job is to encourage you to innovate. Partnership between India and Israel is doing wonders. I have a strong personal friendship with PM Modi,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
10.20 am: On Wednesday, meanwhile, Muslim organisations held a protest against Netanyahu’s Mumbai trip. “Several Muslim children have died in Jerusalem. They (Israel) are a threat to Muslims across the world. Our protest is against India forging such ties with Israel,” said Mohammed Rizvi, general secretary of the Raza Academy. Read more here.
10.10 am: The community leaders will also discuss provision of the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) visa to Indian Jews who finish their three-year military training in Israel and wish to return home in India. The visa-free travel, to make transit between the two countries smoother, was also announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Israel in July 2017.
10.00 am: Netanyahu will on Thursday interact with 25-30 leaders of the Jewish community in Mumbai to address their grievances and issues.
9.50 am: Netanyahu to meet at least 12 CEOs including Anand Mahindra, Ajay Piramal, Adi Godrej and Chanda Kocchar in Mumbai for power breakfast at 10 am.
(With ENS Mumbai inputs)