PM to make one-day trip to India next month — report
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PM to make one-day trip to India next month — report

In Delhi, Netanyahu expected to meet Narendra Modi before heading to Warsaw to attend US-organized summit on Iran; he may also go to Munich

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

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Netanyahu arrives in India on January 14, 2018. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Netanyahu arrives in India on January 14, 2018. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly headed to India for a one-day visit, his second trip to the country in a little over a year.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu will be in India only for a day on February 11 and a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been confirmed. Other details are being worked out,” unnamed sources told the Press Trust of India news agency.

Israeli officials did not deny or confirm Netanyahu’s travel plans.

A spokesperson in the Prime Minister’s Office did, however, confirm Netanyahu’s participation in a US-Polish conference on the Middle East and Iran, in Warsaw next month. He also reportedly planning to attend the Security Conference in Munich.

In New Delhi, Netanyahu is expected to meet his counterpart, Narendra Modi.

Earlier this month, National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat met Modi during a visit to India. During the January 15 visit, Netanyahu spoke to the Indian prime minister over the telephone.

Ben-Shabbat had flown “to India on an Air India flight that passed through Saudi Arabian airspace. This air route had been agreed to by prime ministers Netanyahu and Modi,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a readout issued at the time.

Ben-Shabbat was the guest of his Indian counterpart, Adjit Doval, and also met other senior Indian security officials and diplomats.

“Among the topics discussed were issues related to bilateral relations including the advancing of security deals. Additional measures were agreed to on advancing security, technology and civilian-economic cooperation between Israel and India,” according to the readout.

“Regional issues were also discussed. NSA Ben-Shabbat briefed his interlocutors on Iran’s efforts to entrench itself militarily in Syria and its actions that undermine regional stability.”

In January 2018, Netanyahu spent several days in India, where he visited three cities. Jerusalem-Delhi ties have vastly improved over the last two years.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara tour the green houses in Gujarat, India, along with Indian Prime Minister Nrenda Modi, on January 17, 2018. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

After his brief visit to India, Netanyahu is expected to head to Warsaw, where he would be a main speaker at the Iran-themed conference organized by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The so-called “Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East,” will also be attended by representatives of Gulf nations including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman.

Iran and the Palestinian Authority have not been invited.

The summit was originally billed as focused on the Iranian threat. However, with Russia and China subsequently vowing to skip the event and many European nations wary of sending senior representatives, US officials are now saying it will focus on Middle East challenges in general, “Iran’s destructive policies in the region” among them.

The February 13-14 conference, which Pompeo said will draw ministers from around the world, comes almost exactly as Iran marks 40 years since its Islamic Revolution and after the United States reimposed sweeping sanctions on the country.

Iran summoned a Polish diplomat to protest the conference, which it called a hostile act.

A Polish official said that, despite serving as co-host, Poland still supports the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program from which US President Donald Trump withdrew last year.

After the conference, Netanyahu reportedly plans to continue to Munich for the southern Germany city’s annual Security Conference, which takes place on February 15-17.

Times of Israel staff and agencies contributed to this report.

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