Modi and Netanyahu seek to deepen ties on first visit by Indian PM

JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Israeli Prime Minister (PM) Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday on the first ever visit by an Indian premier to Israel as they sought to deepen ties beyond high-priced defence deals. The two leaders presented a series of agreements between India and Israel for cooperation on satellite technology, water and agriculture, as well as the creation of a $40 million innovation fund. The agreements are part of efforts to extend relations in civilian areas between both countries, with Israel already selling India an average of $1 billion per year in military equipment. Netanyahu and Modi have greeted each other warmly throughout the three-day trip that began on Tuesday, calling the visit historic and groundbreaking. I have a feeling that today India and Israel are changing our world and maybe changing parts of the world, Netanyahu said after talks with Modi in Jerusalem. He added that they had asked their staffs to put together concrete plans for further cooperation in a range of fields by the end of the year. Modi said the discussions extended beyond bilateral projects to how our cooperation can help the cause of global peace and stability. The Indian premier also said they “agreed to do much more together to protect our strategic interests and also cooperate to combat growing radicalisation and terrorism, including in cyberspace. Modi visit marks 25 years since India and Israel established diplomatic relations.