Netanyahu announces he will visit India in January
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Netanyahu announces he will visit India in January

Trip would be first by an Israeli prime minister since Ariel Sharon went to New Delhi in 2003

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands following a statement on July 4, 2017, in Jerusalem. (AFP PHOTO / POOL AND AFP PHOTO / DEBBIE HILL)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands following a statement on July 4, 2017, in Jerusalem. (AFP PHOTO / POOL AND AFP PHOTO / DEBBIE HILL)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to travel to India in January, he announced Monday following the highly successful visit on the Indian leader to Israel earlier in the year.

Netanyahu would be the first Israeli prime minister to visit India since Ariel Sharon went to New Delhi in 2003. Sharon’s trip — the first-ever of an Israeli leader to the country — was cut short by a terrorist attack in Israel.

“In the past year, I have visited all the continents besides Antarctica,” Netanyahu said that opening of the Knesset’s winter session. “And in January, I will make a reciprocal visit to my dear good friend, Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, whose population is a significant part of humanity.”

He did not provide additional details about his travel plans.

In July, Modi became the first Indian head of government to visit the Jewish state.

“You may have seen the pictures,” Netanyahu told the United Nations General Assembly last month. “We were on a beach in Hadera. We rode together in a jeep outfitted with a portable desalination device that some thriving Israeli entrepreneur invented. We took off our shoes, waded into the Mediterranean and drank seawater that had been purified only a few minutes earlier. We imagined the endless possibilities for Israel, India, for all humanity.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi visit the water desalination plant at Olga beac,h on July 6, 2017. (Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90)

Modi publicly invited to Netanyahu to visit his country “at a mutually convenient time,” during a July 5 press conference in Jerusalem.

“This is a deeply moving moment for me, both in personal, but also in national and international terms,” Netanyahu said at the time. “I have a feeling that today, India and Israel are changing our world and maybe changing parts of the world. Because this is a cooperation, it’s a marriage really made in heaven, but we’re implementing it here on earth.”

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