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Modi breaks protocol, receives Israel PM Netanyahu at Delhi airport

Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to India is only the second by an Israeli prime minister and comes after a gap of 15 years

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Benjamin Netanyahu, Narendra Modi, Israel
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu attend a ceremony at the Teen Murti Memorial in New Delhi to formally rename it as Teen Murti-Haifa Chowk on Sunday

Israeli Prime Minister arrived here on Sunday on a six-day visit, during which he will hold extensive talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, who received him at the airport, setting aside protocol.

Modi welcomed with a hug upon his arrival. "Welcome to India, my friend PM @netanyahu! Your visit to India is historic and special. It will further cement the close friendship between our nations," Modi tweeted in English and Hebrew.

Natanyahu, who arrived here with his wife Sara, and a high-level business delegation, tweeted, "We have landed in India. Thank you to my good friend Narendra Modi for the warm welcome!"

Ahead of his departure from Israel, said, "We are strengthening ties between and this important global power (India)."

"This serves our security, economic, trade and tourism interests, as well as many other areas. This is a great blessing for the state of Israel," he said.

According to Israeli officials, was pleasantly surprised by Modi welcoming him at the airport. "I very much appreciate the gesture," was quoted as saying by officials.

Modi and are known to share a warm personal rapport. During Modi's visit to last year, had received the Indian

Netanyahu's visit to India is only the second by an Israeli prime minister and comes after a gap of 15 years. Former prime minister Ariel Sharon had visited India in 2003.

Modi and later attended a ceremony to rename in central Delhi as Teen Murti-Haifa Chowk. They also laid a wreath and signed the visitor's book at the memorial.

The three bronze statues at Teen Murti represent the Hyderabad, Jodhpur and who were part of the 15 The brigade carried out the victorious assault on the fortified city of Haifa on September 23, 1918, during World War I.

The renaming gesture underscores the special link and the common history between and India, said after the event, according to Israeli officials.

External Affairs Minister also called on the Israeli prime minister. During the meeting, told Swaraj that he was overwhelmed by the warmth he received upon his arrival here. He also said that his visit can catapult bilateral ties to the next level.

Later, Modi also hosted a private dinner for and his wife.

During Netanyahu's visit, which comes days after India voted against at the UN on the issue, several MoUs, including in the field of defence, oil and gas, renewable energy, amended protocol for airports, cyber security, and co-production of films and documentaries are expected to be signed between the two sides.

India had last month joined 127 other countries to vote in the General Assembly in favour of a resolution opposing the recent decision of US President to recognise as Israel's capital.

During his stay, will also visit and Mumbai.

On January 15, will meet the Indo-Israeli CEO forum here and address a separate business event. He will deliver a speech at the Raisina Dialogue on January 16.

will also call on President

He will leave for Ahmedabad on the morning of January 17.

In Ahmedabad, he will visit the Sabarmati Ashram. Modi and will also visit the Center of Excellence in Vadrad and inaugurate a Center of Excellence for date palms in Bhuj via video conferencing.

The Israeli prime minister will have a number of engagements in Mumbai on January 18.

The Israeli embassy had said that will meet with Jewish community leaders and select members of the Indian business community in Mumbai.

It had said he will reach out to Bollywood in an exclusive "Shalom Bollywood" event.

In Mumbai, he will also attend a ceremony at the Chabad House, which will be attended by Moshe Holtzberg.

Fondly known as Moshe, the 11-year-old's parents were killed in the Chabad House during the 26/11 terror strike, which had come under attack.

First Published: Mon, January 15 2018. 02:46 IST
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