“I will bless those who bless you And curse him that curses you; And all the families of the earth Shall bless themselves by you.” Genesis 12:3 (The Israel Bible™)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kicked off his state visit to India on Sunday with a warm embrace from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who unexpectedly met the Israeli leader when he landed at New Delhi’s airport on Sunday afternoon.
“Welcome to India, my friend Prime Minister Netanyahu. Your visit to India is historic and special. This visit will strengthen the close ties between our countries,” Modi tweeted in Hebrew.
Netanyahu quickly returned the favor, tweeting: “Thank you, my dear friend, Modi for the warm and personal reception to India. I greatly value this moving gesture.”
The warm exchange by the two leaders comes several months after Modi made a historic visit to Israel, where Netanyahu personally escorted the Indian leader throughout the Jewish state and signed several important bilateral deals.
Netanyahu’s five-day state visit to India, the first by an Israeli prime minister since Ariel Sharon in 2003, will seek to deepen ties between the two burgeoning allies. High on Netanyahu’s list of priorities is to expand business ties with India as the Israeli leader is being accompanied by a 130-strong trade delegation – the largest ever by an Israeli leader.
On his first day, Netanyahu met with Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj about expanding these ties.
“We are here in India on a historic visit. It is important for the State of Israel that one of the world’s major powers wants to develop close relations in many areas – economics, trade, security and agriculture,” he said.
Both countries are expected to sign a series of bilateral agreements during Netanyahu’s stay.