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PM Modi meets Israeli PM Netanyahu in NY

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu here on Sunday in a bid to step-up the diplomatic relations between the two sides.

ANI| Updated: Sep 29, 2014, 05:13 AM IST

New York: Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu here on Sunday in a bid to step-up the diplomatic relations between the two sides.

Prime Minister Modi was accompanied by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during the meeting.

The Israeli Prime Minister had earlier congratulated Narendra Modi after the BJP`s emphatic win in the Lok Sabha polls via a phone call within 24 hours of the results being declared.

Earlier today, Barak Ravid, the diplomatic correspondent for Israeli newspaper Haaretz, while speaking to ANI described his country`s relationship with India as that of a mistress.

"India and Israel have had very strong and strategic relations for many years in cooperation in security, health, and agriculture, but Israel was always the mistress in the sense that the relations were strong but everything was under the carpet and not public," he said.

"What will be interesting in this meeting is if Netanyahu will get an invitation from Prime Minister Modi to come to New Delhi. If this will take place, I think it will be very significant because the last Israeli Prime Minister to visit India was Ariel Sharon more than ten years ago," Ravid added.

Ravid also talked about the close counter-terrorism relations that the two countries share.

"I think that Israel and India are working together on counter-terrorism for many years, especially on radical Islamic terrorism, Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorism and Lashkar-e-Taiba affiliated terrorism," he said.

However, Ravid expressed Israel`s dismay at the slow pace of investigation in the 2012 attack on an Israeli diplomat`s car in New Delhi.

"One major issue that I am sure will come up in the meeting will be the bombing of the Israeli diplomatic car. There is a court case being dealt with in New Delhi, there is an Indian suspect, Syed Kazmi, who was involved in the bombing but still the court has not given a verdict," he said.

"The Indian investigation on this case is very slow and Netanyahu would hope that Prime Minister Modi and the new government will give a push to this investigation to bring people to justice," he added.

To a poser on whether Israel is looking forward to welcome Prime Minister Modi, Ravid said: "I am sure. Prime Minister Modi is the only senior Indian leader to have visited Israel already ..... I am sure that Prime Minister Netanyahu will invite him and I hope that Prime Minister Modi will come because this will also be a historic visit.

India imports critical defence technologies from Israel. There are regular exchanges between the armed forces.

There is cooperation on security issues and there is a Joint Working Group on counter-terrorism that meets periodically.

In February 2014, India and Israel signed three important agreements on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Cooperation in Homeland and Public Security, and Protection of Classified Material.