Scheduling issues likely to stall Netanyahu’s India trip

The election season in Israel and India may derail Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after an initial date for his visit on February 11 fell through, officials involved in planning the visit confirmed. According to a senior diplomatic source, Mr. Netanyahu, who had proposed the visit as part of a big international outreach before the Israeli elections, had originally suggested he could visit New Delhi on February 11. The Ministry of External Affairs had acknowledged last week that Mr. Netanyahu was expected for a “short working visit”. “The dates and other details of the visit are still being worked out and once it is finalised, we will share it with you,” spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said on January 31. However, the date had to be postponed due to the Israeli PM’s other travel plans. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also has a packed schedule and will receive the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince on February 19-20. Argentinean President Mauricio Macri is also slotted for a visit, officials confirmed. Mr. Modi will head to South Korea on February 21 to receive the Seoul Peace Prize awarded by an NGO, and to meet with President Moon Jae-in. If cancelled, Mr. Netanyahu’s visit will be the second high-profile engagement put off due to scheduling difficulties in recent weeks. A meeting of about 20 Foreign Ministers of the 22-nation Arab League for the Arab-India cooperation forum scheduled for January 31 was cancelled just a week before it was due to be held.

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