Israeli PM Netanyahu used some tough words against Hafiz Saeed in New Delhi

Israeli PM Netanyahu used some tough words against Hafiz Saeed in New Delhi

NEW DELHI - Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is in India for a historic 6 days visit first by any Israeli Prime Minister in the last 15 years.

The visit is seen with close watch as it will take India and Israel strategic and defence partnership to the new highs.

Israeli PM was earlier received with open arms at the New Delhi Airport by his friend Narendra Modi who had arrived at the airport breaking all the protocols.

After the official meetings he had a conversation with Raj Chengappa, India Today's Group Editorial Director (Publishing), Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spelt out his agenda for this historic visit.

While the bonhomie and the friendship between both the leaders Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and the Israeli Premier was visible from the moment the latter landed on the Tarmac in New Delhi, Netanyahu emphasised that it is the "kindred" spirit between the two that makes this a very "special relationship".

"I respect Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a great leader. I see him with a kindred spirit because he is impatient to bring the future to his people and to change the world. In many ways, our partnership can do a lot of things", he said in his interview.

The Israeli Prime Minister has come down to India with a huge business contingent to upgrade the economic cooperation between the two nations but his emphasis has been innovation and technology.

In a massive outreach toward people centric policies, Prime Minister Netanyahu is offering high-end technology in the agriculture and health sector, including drones for farmers.

He said that it was unimaginable but true, "Drones for agriculture, can you imagine that. This is what Israel can do in the Indian farm. You put a drone in the sky, pick data information and you photograph the field and then you direct the water to the level of the individual plant."

Adding that India and Israel will get the right impetus and spur in technological and economic cooperation by "having Free Trade Agreement (FTA) or moving up towards that direction. Israel's changing rapidly. We are creating industries out of thin air."

On the more contentious issue of India's vote against the US resolution at the UN on Jerusalem, the Prime Minister didn't mince any words. He didn't hide his disappointment but also added that it would not get in the way of a "grand partnership."

"I don't think one vote affects the general trend and you can see it in many other votes that we have had here. Naturally, I'm disappointed but I think this visit is a testament to the fact that our relationship is moving forward on so many fronts," he said.

Israel and India through its diplomatic channels handled the decision on Jerusalem by India, but it was the cancellation of the $ 500 million Spike man-portable anti-tank missiles by India on January 2 that dealt a bigger blow to Tel Aviv.

While responding to the question on defence deals impacted by this decision he said, "I hope that this visit can help resolve this issue because I think there is a reasonable chance we can reach an equitable solution but we will have to wait till the end of this visit. But our defence relationship is quite significant and it encompasses many things."

"I think the keyword is defence. We want to defend ourselves. We are not aggressive nations but very committed to making sure that no one can commit aggression against either one of us," he added.

Speaking about protecting one another, he answered India Today's questions on terror cooperation saying "intelligence" is the key to fighting terrorism and that Israel in the last few years averted 30 major terror attacks.

With Moshe Holtzberg, who lost his parents in the Mumbai terror attack, accompanying the Israeli premier to Mumbai, Netanyahu used some tough words against Hafiz Saeed.

Israel has been a strong defence partner of India and both countries share the intelligence and counter terrorism experiences with each other.