PMs Narendra Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu bond over kite-flying, Sabarmati Ashram visit in Gujarat
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu held a roadshow on Wednesday in Ahmedabad in Gujarat under a heavy security blanket as thousands of people lined up along the route to greet them.
After arriving in Modi’s home state, the two leaders, along with the Israeli prime minister’s wife Sara Netanyahu, set out in a car from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Airport. (Live updates)
Around 50 stages were erected on the roadside along the stretch to showcase performances by troupes of different states to welcome the guests.
People carrying Indian and Israeli flags stood in large numbers on both sides of the tastefully decorated road.
Modi and Netanyahu waved at the people, who greeted them with loud cheers.
The roadshow concluded at Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram, after traversing 8km.
At Hriday Kunj, Gandhi’s home in the ashram, Modi showed them Gandhi’s room and the articles he used.
Netanyahu and his wife tried their hands at Gandhi’s cherished spinning wheel.
Modi also showed kites to the Israeli prime minister, whose visit comes just a few days after Uttarayana, the popular festival of kites in Gujarat.
Netanyahu and his wife then took a try at flying kites in the ashram.
The Israeli PM is the third international leader whom Modi is hosting in his home state of Gujarat.
Later, talking to Israeli reporters travelling with him in India, Netanyahu said he was certain that the US Embassy will be moved to Jerusalem in the coming year, much sooner than Trump administration officials have estimated, Associated Press reports.
Netanyahu told the reporters his “solid assessment” was that the American Embassy “will be moved far faster than what we think ... in the course of the year.”
US President Donald Trump upended decades of American foreign policy, infuriating many when he announced late last year that the United States recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would move its embassy there.
Modi and Japanese premier Shinzo Abe had held a joint roadshow in an open jeep during the latter’s visit here in September last year. The Indian premier had shown Abe and his wife around at the Sabarmati Ashram, where Mahatma Gandhi had stayed for a long time.
They had also spent some time at the Sabarmati riverfront, developed during Modi’s tenure as Gujarat chief minister.
Modi had also accompanied Chinese President Xi Jinping and his spouse to the riverfront during the latter’s India visit in 2014.
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