Netanyahu says Indian peace hero Gandhi an inspiration
January 17, 2018 | 5:25 PM
by Reuters
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu writes a message in the visitor's book as his wife Sara and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi look on during their visit to Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, India, January 17, 2018. Photo - Reuters/Amit Dave

New Delhi: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the home of Mahatma Gandhi on Wednesday, saying modern India's founding father and promoter of peace was an inspiration for humanity.

Netanyahu is making the first visit by an Israeli prime minister in 15 years and the nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rolled out the red carpet, seeing Israel as an ally in the fight against terrorism.

Modi hosted the Israeli leader in his home state of Gujarat where hundreds of people waving Indian and Israeli flags lined up the streets as the motorcade passed.

The two men, accompanied by Netanyahu's wife, Sara, went to Gandhi's ashram on the banks of a river where Netanyahu tried his hand at a spinning wheel, a pastime Gandhi made popular while he was jailed during British colonial rule.

"An inspiring visit to the hearth of one of humanity's great prophets of inspiration - Mahatma Gandhi", Netanyahu and his wife wrote in the guest book. Netanyahu and Modi have pledged to deepen economic and security ties in a more open embrace of the relationship which New Delhi had long kept at a low profile, largely for fear of upsetting Arab nations on which it depends for oil.

Modi said India's cooperation with Israel was diverse and benefited both countries. On Tuesday, Netanyahu said the two countries were discussing ways to strengthen cooperation to fight the menace of extremism that they both faced.

On Thursday, Netanyahu will travel to Mumbai to join a memorial event for the parents of an 11-year-old Israeli boy who was among the 166 people killed during an attack by militants in 2008. Ahead of that trip, a small group of people staged a protest in Mumbai holding placards denouncing Netanyahu and accusing him of atrocities against Palestinians.

Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know all the latest news