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Dawn of a new era in friendship: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at Rashtrapati Bhavan

Netanyahu reflected that his reciprocal visit would take India-Israel ties forward in multiple areas of cooperation.

Dawn of a new era in friendship: Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at Rashtrapati Bhavan
Israel PM Netanyahu delivers remarks in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan after his ceremonial welcome, as PM Modi looks on. (Picture: MEA)

NEW DELHI: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday declared his visit to New Delhi as the "dawn of a new era in friendship between India and Israel." 

"It began with PM Narendra Modi's historic visit to Israel that created tremendous enthusiasm. It continues with my visit here which I must say is deeply moving for me, my wife and people of Israel," he said.

He added that the flourishing partnership can bring prosperity, peace and progress for the people.

Netanyahu, who is on six-day visit to India, was accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among those present during the ceremony.

Netanyahu and Modi are expected to discuss a variety of subjects related to bilateral relations and the global situation. The Israeli premier is accompanied by his wife Sara and a 130-member delegation from various sectors, including cyber, agriculture and defence.

This is the first visit to India by an Israeli Prime Minister since Ariel Sharon came in 2003. 

On Sunday, PM Modi had broken protocol to personally receive his Israeli counterpart at the Delhi airport. He welcomed Netanyahu with a hug upon his arrival. 

Tweeting on the surprise welcome, Netanyahu had said: "Thank you to my good friend, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who surprised me with a personal welcome at the airport upon my arrival in India. Together we will bring the relations between our countries to new heights."

PM Modi and his Israeli counterpart attended a ceremony on Sunday to mark the formal renaming of iconic Teen Murti Chowk as Teen Murti Haifa Chowk. The two premiers, who signed the visitor's book at the chowk, were received by Army Chief General Bipin Rawat and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.

They laid the wreath and paid tribute at the Chowk.

Netanyahu will be going to Delhi, Agra, Gujarat and Mumbai and will be accompanied by Modi on extensive portions of his visit.