Stage set for Israeli PM's six-day visit, starting Sunday

Workers tend to seedlings in front of a banner showing Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi at the campus of the Centre of Excellence for Vegetables at Vadrad village in Gujarat. The Israeli prime minister is

"India has long-lasting and wide-ranging defense cooperation with Israel".

Israeli Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon on Friday had downplayed India's stand at the UN General Assembly over the USA decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in place of Tel Aviv, saying New Delhi's view "cannot influence" Indo-Israel ties.

"Our relationship is richer and wider in terms of collaboration and complementarity".

"The votes at the United Nations have been on the joint agenda of India and Israel". "We can not always fulfil those requests". India is Israel's largest weapons market, and according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the Jewish state sold $599 million worth of arms to India in 2016.

Benjamin Netanyahu's visit will involve a series of events that will showcase the growing friendship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Israeli prime minister.

"I would have preferred a different vote, to be frank, but I don't think it materially changes the tremendous flowering of relations between India and Israel", Netanyahu, addressing the Government Press Office's annual end-of-year reception for the foreign press corps, said in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Since 1996, Netanyahu visited Russian Federation 12 times in his capacity as prime minister. "Sometimes, it is India that comes to Israel with a request and sometimes Israel comes to India with a request", he said.

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PM Modi will be hosting a private dinner for Netanyahu on January 14, 2018, after his arrival in New Delhi.

"India imports critical defence technologies from Israel".

During his visit, Mr Netanyahu will hold meetings with Mr Modi and Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj.

On Thursday, Netanyahu will have a power Breakfast with Indian CEOs and attend a business seminar. He said both PMs have struck a personal bond as well, which was displayed during Modi's visit to Israel past year. The agreements and MoUs, sources said, will reflect a "people connect" emphasised by Israel ambassador Daniel Carmon, covering agriculture, innovation, water management etc.

"However as the final product sold to us is often sub-contracted to smaller manufacturers, Israelis have a problem which they can only solve by moving part of the manufacturing to India and we have been telling them exactly that", said the officials.

Israel and India also differ on China: Israel has welcomed the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative sponsored by China and is eager to participate in the development of networks in the region.

Indias Kalyani group and Israels state-run Rafael Advanced Defence Systems had commissioned a Rs 70 crore production facility near Hyderabad in August past year, anticipating that the Israeli firm would bag the contract.

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