Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu in India from January 14

NEWDELHI: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to arrive in India for a threeday visit on January 14 as the two countries work towards a free trade agreement.

The two countries are also working on a proposal for the Heron TP, medium-altitude, long-endurance, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to meet multiple mission needs of the Indian armed forces.

Upon his arrival, Netanyahu will be received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad, like he did China’s Xi Jinping and Japan’s Shinzo Abe.

Netanyahu will be in India till January 16, 2018 and from Gujarat he will travel to New Delhi. Agra is another proposed stopover for Netanyahu, the second Israeli Prime Minister to visit India after Ariel Sharon in 2003.

Indian officials preparing for the Israeli Prime Minister’s visit said the two countries will likely focus on innovation, agriculture, water management and agriculture, apart from trade.

The bilateral trade between the countries, excluding defence is around $5 billion. “The trade is below potential between the two sides. Both have identified promoting business ties and investments as a key focus”, said one of the officials on the condition of anonymity.

The Heron TP systems include maritime patrol radar, electronic support measures, electronic and communications intelligence and can also be installed with M-19HD multi-sensor electro-optical payload.

The real-time imagery and telemetry data collected by the payloads are transmitted to the ground control station using lineof-sight propagation and satellite communications (SATCOM).

The UAV allows for simultaneous operation of different payloads for multi-mission requirements. “We are working on this proposal”, said an official.

India officially recognised Israel on September 17, 1950 but the two sides started full diplomatic ties in 1992 under the Congress-government led by PV Narasimha Rao.

Over the years, Israel has emerged as a key defence and security partner of India. Earlier in July, Modi became the first Indian PM to visit Israel. The Modi government has also shed India’s traditional inhibition on the public display of its ties with Israel for fear of angering some of its West Asian partners.

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