Israel open to defence deal terms

India says $500 million missile deal with Israel will move ahead

Rafael missile deal with Israel may still go through, via a different route

Addressing a press conference days ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to India, Carmon also said it was not unusual for India to approach Israel with requests or Israel to appeal to India ahead of votes at the UN. Over time, he continued, he is expecting a change in India's voting on issues relating to Israel at worldwide forums.

Last month, India raised many eyebrows at home when it voted for an Arab resolution criticising Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. "The relationship is much stronger than the one vote here and there", Carmon had said, but maintained that it was "not a happy" situation when members of the worldwide community did not vote in favour on the issue at the UN.

On the same day (January 12) Army chief Bipin Rawat said the government and the Indian Army are discussing ways to revive the $500 million order to buy Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israel's state-owned defence contractor Rafael. After some embarrassing confusion by the defence ministry cancelling a Spike missile contract with Rafael Industries of Israel, sources here said the deal was back on track as a government-to-government contract, in the manner of the Rafale deal.

In a statement, Netanyahu praised the budget as "excellent", saying it "reflects our consistent and responsible policies: A budget that, on one hand, maintains growth and economic strength, and on the other hand, takes care of the social needs of all Israeli citizens".

"Prime Minister of India Moody is a close friend of Israel and mine and I appreciate the fact that he personally accompanies me in large parts of the visit, " Netanyahu added.

The minister will later visit Centre of Excellence, Vadrad.

PM Modi would be accompanying Netanyahu to Gujarat on Wednesday where he will be welcomed with a roadshow in Ahmadabad.

A media highlight of that visit was a barefoot stroll though the surf together at an Israeli beach, where Modi got a demonstration of a mobile water desalination unit mounted on a dune buggy. Both PMs are expected to lead a road show as well in Ahmadabad. "So we had an Israeli candidate who was an Indian judge", he said.

On Thursday, Netanyahu will have a power Breakfast with Indian CEOs and attend a business seminar. The Prime Minister will reach out to Bollywood in an exclusive "Shalom Bollywood" event. The event is significant as Israel is fighting a worldwide "cultural boycott".

"Let's not forget that before Modi visited Israel previous year, he hosted Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in New Delhi as well", Mr Taneja said.

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