The Israeli government has rolled out the red carpet for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the first Indian PM to visit the Jewish nation. Greeting Modi at the airport on Tuesday, an honour reserved for US presidents, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Aapka swagat hai mere dost."
Modi greeted Nentanyahu with "Shalom." "It is my singular honour to be the first ever Indian Prime Minister to undertake this groundbreaking visit to Israel...," he said.
Nentanyahu, said, "India and Israel are sister democracies. We are unequal in size but equal in spirits. We also face common challenges and first of it is to defeat the forces of terror that's on rampage through the world and threaten both our countries."
The Israeli PM announced the establishment of a $40 million innovation fund to promote technological cooperation.
During his three-day trip, Modi is staying at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. The Times of India reported that the set of rooms in which the Indian PM is staying is the safest suite on the planet. Even if the hotel is bombed, Modi's suite will be unharmed and come down in a pod. "His suite is secured against bomb attacks, chemical attacks, everything," Sheldon Ritz, operations manager for King David Hotel, told TOI.
From meeting the Indian diaspora to holding high-level meetings with top government officials, Modi has a packed schedule on his second day in Israel. Nentanyahu is accompanying the Indian PM on several stops during the day.
Earlier today, Modi met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. "The President of Israel welcomed me so warmly, he broke protocol. This is a mark of respect for the people of India," Modi tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.
Modi is scheduled to have a high-level meeting with Netanyahu. The prime ministers are expected to hold extensive discussions and ink agreements in several areas including agriculture, water, health, defense and agriculture.
One of the agreements on the table is the Barak-8 air defence system, which the two countries have built together.
A report published by IndiaSpend pointed out that India bought 41 percent of Israel's arms exports between 2012 and 2016, making it the Jewish nation's top destination for arms exports. And India is the third largest source of arms for Israel, behind USA and Russia.
In the area of food security, the plan is to expand 26 agriculture expertise centres that Israel has set up in 15 Indian states, Reuters reported. This would help increase output of vegetables and fruits.
The Indian PM will also meet opposition leader Isaac Herzog.
Later today, Modi accompanied by Netanyahu will meet the Indian community in Israel. Around 4,000 people of Indian origin are expected to attend the event. In Tel Aviv, Modi will meet with Indian diamond merchants from Gujarat.
The Indian prime minister will also meet with 26/11 survivor Moshe Holtzberg, an Israeli boy, who lost his parents in the deadly terror attack on Mumbai in November, 2008. Holtzberg is now 10-years-old.
The prime minister will visit the Indian Cemetery in Haifa to pay respect to the Indian soldiers who died for the liberation of Haifa in 1918. The Indian Express reported that two Indian regiments captured a 1,350 German and Ottoman prisoners during the First World War.
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