India’s Adani Group, most closely associated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has acquired the strategic Israeli port of Haifa for $1.2 billion.
According to Kashmir Media Service, the Port of Haifa is the second largest port in Israel in terms of shipping containers and the biggest in shipping tourist cruise ships. In the last six years, Adani group has struck many critical partnerships with companies such as Elbit Systems, Israel Weapon Systems, and Israel Innovation Authority.
Gautam Adani, whose business empire was rocked by fraud following a damning report by researchers at Hindenburg the US outfit that specialises in short-selling overhyped tech stocks, appeared alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for signing of the deal to takeover Haifa Port, and spoke of investment opportunities.
Netanyahu described the Haifa port deal with the Adani Group as an “enormous milestone”. He said that he discussed with his “good friend” Indian counterpart Narendra Modi this vision of “having connectivity between our countries in many ways, transportation lines and air routes and sea routes.” He said what is happening today has historic importance, adding the move will further strengthen ties between India and Israel. He also said that this was an unequivocal expression of confidence in the Israeli economy on part of India.
On his part, Gautam Adani, a billionaire friend of Modi, said his group will also develop real estate at the port to transform the Haifa skyline. “We have initiated several dozen technology relationships wherein we have offered the entire Adani portfolio of companies to be a giant sandbox for us to learn together,” the Indian tycoon said in his speech. “We are also in the process of setting up an Artificial Intelligence lab in Tel Aviv which will work in close collaboration with our new AI labs in India and US.”
The relationship between Modi and Adani is well documented, dating back over two decades to when Modi was chief minister of Gujarat and Adani a Gujarati businessman. Modi’s rise through the political ranks was mirrored by the expansion of Adani’s vast empire. Modi flew to Delhi on Adani’s private jet after he won the 2014 election. It is reported that since Modi came to power in India, Adani’s net worth has increased by almost 250%.
Recently, Adani took over one of India’s few remaining news channels, NDTV, known for independent reporting. Several Indian journalists and analysts have expressed concern that an Adani takeover would compromise NDTV’s editorial independence, which has stood in stark contrast to other mainstream news channels, which have largely become a mouthpiece for Modi’s Hindutva government. As a result of Adani’s takeover, NDTV has also come under control of BJP-led Indian government. Several senior journalists have quit NDTV since Adani takeover in August, last year.
Disclaimer: Ever increasing Delhi-Tel Aviv ties: Modi ally Adani Group acquires strategic Israeli port - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view