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Israeli PM Netanyahu likely to visit India before elections


Press Trust of India Jerusalem
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could be visiting India in February or March, before elections in both the countries, in what would be his second visit to New Delhi coming after just over a year.
"A date is being worked out but no confirmed dates are available as yet. Both the sides have exchanged their preferred dates but there is no final decision on it. The visit, however, is likely sometime in February or March," informed sources here told PTI.
Netanyahu visited India in January 2018 while Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to Tel Aviv in 2017, becoming the first Indian Prime Minister to tour the Jewish state.
Both the leaders spoke over the phone earlier this month when Israel's National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbath visited New Delhi. Ben-Shabbat also met National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.
The Israeli prime minister is said to have expressed his desire to visit India again to which Modi is said to have consented, sources said.
Netanyahu has taken up many trip abroad recently to strengthen Israel's standing in the international community, something that his supporters have been using to project him as the only leader who can drum up support for Israel.
Israel has recently seen major diplomatic breakthroughs with Netanyahu visiting Oman, a country that doesn't have diplomatic ties with Israel, and Chad, an overwhelming Muslim country, restarting diplomatic engagement with the Jewish state.
The Israeli leader seems to be trying to convince his people that his country is not isolated in the global community and many more nations would be working with Tel Aviv, irrespective of a breakthrough on the deadlocked peace process with Palestinians.
Israel will hold elections for the Knesset (parliament) on April 9.

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First Published: Jan 29 2019 | 7:10 PM IST

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