Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said during his visit to India that he is “disappointed” by New Delhi’s refusal to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the so-called capital of the occupying regime.
New Delhi joined more than 120 countries last month to vote in favor of a resolution calling for the United States to drop its recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel.
“Naturally, I am disappointed,” Netanyahu, who is on a six-day visit to India, said on Monday.
The Israeli prime minister was already disappointed by India’s decision to cancel a $500 million deal to buy anti-tank missiles from Tel Aviv.
Israel’s military sales to India total $1 billion a year but Modi wants to cut down those imports as he wants to end India’s status as the world’s top military importer.
Nevertheless, Netanyahu sought to keep a tight upper lip, stating that he had a “special relationship” with his counterpart Modi and that “this visit is a testament to the fact that our relationship is moving forward on so many fronts.”
Modi took office in 2014 and became the first sitting Indian prime minister to visit Israel last year as part of his plan to expand relations with Tel Aviv.
In 2016 alone, the volume of bilateral arms trade stood at $600 million, making the subcontinent the biggest arms buyer from Tel Aviv.
The two sides also share intelligence and carry out joint military training.
Netanyahu even indicated that the snag over the scrapped missile deal could be ironed out. “I hope that this visit can help resolve this issue because I think there is a reasonable chance we can reach an equitable solution,” he said.
“I think the keyword is defense. We want to defend ourselves. We are not aggressive nations, but very committed to making sure that no one can commit aggression against us,” the Israeli premier added.
Israel proclaimed existence in 1948 by overrunning huge swathes of Arab territories. It occupied further land in 1967, and has been trying to lay claim to it by populating it with illegally-built settlements.
Netanyahu is being accompanied by a 130-strong delegation and the visit is expected to feature the signing of new agreements in energy and aviation.
India hosts a tiny Jewish population numbering between 5,000 and 7,000.