Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to visit India tomorrow

There is speculation about the revival of talks on India's purchase of 8,000 Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israel that was cancelled a year ago.

According to a report in India's Hindustan Times on Wednesday, the deal will now be implemented on a government-to-government basis rather than working directly through the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

But PM Modi has said he wants to end India's status as the world's number one defence importer and to have 70 percent of hardware manufactured domestically by the turn of the decade.

Netanyahu will be accompanied by a 130-member delegation drawn from the cyber and agriculture sectors as well as from defence.

South Carolina's governor urged his state's Senate on Wednesday to pass legislation created to counter campus antisemitism in time for.

In November, the defence ministry had chose to retract the process to acquire a batch of Spike missiles from Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, a deal which would have been worth $500 million, after the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) expressed confidence of producing the indigenous Nag ATGM.

The two countries have grown closer since Narendra Modi became Indian prime minister in 2014, widening commercial cooperation beyond their longstanding defence ties.

U.S. anxiety over technological theft has forced Israeli manufacturers to stop selling to the Chinese, making India its largest arms importer.

Both India and Israel are eager to expand bilateral trade, from the present annual value of $4bn to $10bn by 2022. But in the past 25 years since India established diplomatic relations with Israel, New Delhi has developed a multifaceted relationship with the Jewish state spanning defence, agriculture, irrigation and counter terrorism.

"However as the final product sold to us is often sub-contracted to smaller manufacturers, Israelis have a problem which they can only solve by moving part of the manufacturing to India and we have been telling them exactly that", said the officials.

India is Israel's biggest arms market, buying around $1 billion worth of weapons every year. In Gujarat, the two Prime Ministers will visit the Center of Excellence in Vadrad and inaugurate a Center of Excellence for date palms in Bhuj via video conference.

On January 15, Netanyahu will meet the Indo-Israeli CEO forum here and address a separate business event.

The envoy spoke about his country's position on India's UNGA vote while sharing details of the January 14-19 visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Meetings with President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu are also scheduled for Monday.

  • Jon Douglas