Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was seen shaking the hand of former Afghani president Hamid Karzai on Tuesday, before delivering his speech at the Raisina Dialogue Conference in New Delhi. Israel and Afghanistan have no diplomatic ties.
In his speech, delivered at the end of his third day visiting India, Netanyahu described Israels four strengths, as he sees them: military, economic, political and the upholding of democratic values. Netanyahu praised the special ties between Israel and India, which he believes stem from the fact that both cultures integrate ancient traditions with innovation, along with the embrace of democratic values.
“The quest for innovation, the quest for modernity is being challenged by radical Islam and its terrorist offshoots and this can upset the international system. One of the ways to overcome such a challenge is to strengthen the relationship between our two great democracies,” said Netanyahu in his speech. “The alliance of democracies is important to secure our common future.” Haaretz reported.
Strong nations survive in the world order, Netanyahu said, not weak ones. And peace must be made with the strong ones. In the audience was also Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is personally attending several of the events in which Netanyahu is participating during his visit to the sub-continent.
Earlier in the day Netanyahu and his wife visited the Taj Mahal in Agra. The site was closed to visitors in their honor as they toured the site and had their pictures taken. The road to the site was adorned with banners showing photos of Netanyahu and Yogi Adityanath, the leader of the state of Uttar Pradesh, the largest one in India, with a population of 220 million. At the end of the tour Netanyahu had lunch with Adityanath, together with Indias ambassador in Israel, Pavan Kapoor.
On the business front there are growing assessments among Netanyahus entourage, including representatives of Israels military industries and among Indian diplomats, that the gigantic deal to purchase anti-tank Spike missiles, produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, a deal which India cancelled lately, may be partially salvaged by the end of Netanyahus visit.
On Wednesday Netanyahu will fly to the Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat, in which Mahatma Gandhi lived for 12 years. After that he will be accompanied by Modi on a visit to Gujarat, Modis home state. On Thursday Netanyahu will take part in a memorial service honoring the victims of the terror attack in Mumbai, and will meet the heads of Jewish communities in India. At the memorial service he will be joined by Moshe Holtzberg, now 12 years old, who lost his parents in that attack. Later Netanyahu will meet the heads of the local Bollywood film industry. The delegation is expected to return home on Friday afternoon.
After returning from India, Netanyahu will leave on January 23 for three days, to attend the economic forum in Davos. There he hopes to meet U.S. President Donald Trump. Modi is also expected to attend the forum, following many years in which India sent only ministerial-level representatives.