Modi receives Israel PM by breaking protocol

DAINIK NATION BUREAU

Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives Israeli counterpart Benzamin Netanyahu by breaking protocol at the airport on Sunday.

Later, they attended a ceremony at the Teen Murti Memorial here to mark the renaming of Teen Murti Chowk as Teen Murti Haifa Chowk. The two leaders 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 Mysore Lancers who were part of the 15 Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade. The brigade carried out the victorious assault on the fortified city of Haifa on September 23, 1918, during World War I.

There are various accounts of this battle — all narrate the valour with which the lancers undertook the assault on the garrisoned city protected by a joint force of Ottomans, Germany and Austria-Hungary.

The liberation of Haifa cleared a supply route for the Allies to the city through the sea. Forty-four Indian soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice during the liberation of the city in World War I.  Till date, the 61 Cavalry celebrates September 23 as its Raising Day or “Haifa Day.”

Netanyahu’s visit to India is only the second one by an Israeli Prime Minister and comes after a gap of 15 years. Former prime minister Ariel Sharon visited India in 2003. Netanyahu will be visiting Delhi, Agra, Gujarat and Mumbai and will be accompanied by Modi on extensive portions of his visit, a press statement said.

He will hold meetings with President Ram Nath Kovind and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, apart from Modi. Several MoUs, including in the field of oil and gas, renewable energy, amended protocol for airports, cyber security, and co-production of films and documentaries, will be signed between the two sides.

Israel’s Saare Tzedek hospital would be signing an agreement with the ministry of health and family welfare.

Setting aside protocol, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday received his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, who arrived here on a six-day visit. Informed sources here said that this relates to sharing of knowledge in the field of homoeopathy and Ayurveda that have been gaining popularity in Israel over the last few years.

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology would also be signing an agreement with the ministry of science and technology, sources here said.

Netanyahu is leading a high-profile delegation comprising 130 businessmen from 102 Israeli companies drawn from areas like agriculture, water, cyber security, health care and security, on his trip.

Israel will be investing USD 68.6 million to boost cooperation with India in areas like tourism, technology, agriculture and innovation over a period of four years, a senior official here said ahead of Netanyahu’s visit.

The commitment is in addition to the India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund of USD 40 million over five years with equal contribution from both sides that has already been agreed between the two nations, Deputy Director General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Gilad Cohen, earlier told PTI.

Moshe Holtzberg, the toddler who survived the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack but lost his parents, will also join the trip with his grandparents and his brave Indian nanny, Sandra Samuels, who saved him.

Netanyahu had promised to take him along on his visit during an emotional meeting between the now 11-year-old boy and Modi in Jerusalem in July.

Modir will be hosting a private dinner for Netanyahu today evening after his arrival in New Delhi. The Israeli leader would also meet Swaraj today.

The Israeli premier would be formally welcomed tomorrow morning at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, following which he would lay a wreath at Rajghat.

He would then participate in a dialogue at Hyderabad House which will also include a one-on-one discussion with Modi. A meeting with President Kovind is also scheduled for tomorrow.

Netanyahu, accompanied by his wife Sara, would be travelling to Agra to see the Taj Mahal on Tuesday and return to Delhi to participate in the Raisina Dialogue.

Modi would be accompanying Netanyahu to Gujarat on Wednesday where he will be welcomed in the same fashion as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was with a road show in Ahmedabad.

The road show is said to be an 8-kilometre drive from the airport to the Sabarmati Ashram. The two leaders will also be witnessing several innovative technologies in the field of water, agriculture and health at iCreate and visit a Centre of Excellence.

Netanyahu would arrive in Mumbai on Wednesday in the evening where he will meet the Indian Jewish community.

A packed schedule on Thursday for the Israeli premier in Mumbai would include a “power breakfast” with Indian business leaders, a business seminar, attending two memorial services for the victims of the 26/11 attack at the Taj hotel and Nariman House and finally a gala event with Bollywood actors.

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