NEW DELHI: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he was “disappointed” by India’s refusal to back recognition of Jerusalem as his country’s capital but would not let it spoil his landmark visit to the Asian giant.
Netanyahu also vowed that Israel would “catch up” with the killers of a Jewish couple murdered in 2008 attacks in Mumbai whose son is accompanying him on a six-day trip to India.
The Israeli leader arrived Sunday at the head of the biggest business delegation he has taken on a foreign visit.
Netanyahu told the India Today media group, in an interview released on Monday, that he has a “special relationship” with his counterpart Narendra Modi.
But the run-up was clouded by India joining more than 100 countries at the United Nations in voting last month to condemn Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“Naturally I am disappointed but I think this visit is a testament to the fact that our relationship is moving forward on so many fronts,” Netanyahu said in the interview.
Ahead of the visit, India also canceled a $500 million deal for Israeli Spike anti-tank missiles.
Israel exports an average of $1 billion of military equipment each year to India, but Modi wants to end India’s status as the world’s top defense importer.
But Netanyahu was again optimistic on the missile deal.
“I think the keyword is defense. We want to defend ourselves. We are not aggressive nations, but very committed to making sure that noone can commit aggression against us.”
Modi also stressed how the “historic” visit would “further cement the close friendship between our nations.”
Netanyahu is accompanied by 11-year-old Moshe Holtzberg whose parents were among 166 people killed by Pakistani militants in co-ordinated attacks on the city.
“Ultimately we will catch up with the killers but the objective is also to prevent future killers,” Netanyahu said in the interview.
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