India-Israel hope to deepen ties further

Monitoring Desk

NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday promised to take bilateral ties to greater heights.

Benjamin Netanyahu, who arrived in India on Sunday on a six-day visit, called India’s relationship with Israel a “marriage made in heaven” and said that even though his country was “disappointed” by India’s vote at the UN against recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, “this visit is a testimony that our relationship is moving on so many fronts forward.”

India has called ties with Israel a “partnership made for the 21st century, between two vibrant democracies”.

The Israeli prime minister is accompanied by a 130-member business delegation, the largest ever from Israel, and the two countries hope to deepen ties in trade and defense.

Netanyahu called the Indian prime minister a revolutionary leader.

“You are a revolutionary leader, you are revolutionizing India, you are catapulting this magnificent state into the future,” said Netanyahu in a statement.

He further said, “Israelis in India have never ever faced the anti-Semitism that we have faced in so many places across the world.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that they would strengthen the existing pillars of cooperation in areas that touched the lives of both nations.

“These are agriculture, science and technology, and security,” he said.

A statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs quoted Modi as saying, “We will bring advanced Israeli technologies and invite Israel to make use of our liberalized regime in defense.”

He also noted that they desired to diversify and expand the base of our their relationship with Israel, with agriculture as one of their key focuses, adding that they were also focusing on defense, cyber security, start-ups, and promote people-to-people ties and promote each other’s rich cultures.

In a joint statement released after the meeting, they said that both sides were working together on a Five-Year Joint Work Plan for strategic cooperation in Agriculture and Water.

Both sides also agreed to deepen cooperation in innovation, business and trade, space, homeland security and cyber, higher education and research, science and technology, tourism and culture.

Earlier today, the Israeli prime minister was given a ceremonial welcome at the president’s House.

New Delhi and Tel Aviv have also signed nine agreements covering various sectors, including defense, oil and gas, renewable energy, amended protocol for airports, cyber security, and co-production of films and documentaries.

Benjamin Netanyahu will also be visiting Gujarat, the home state of Narendra Modi, as well as Mumbai, where he will meet with Jewish community leaders and elect members of the Indian business community.

According to the Israeli Embassy, the Israeli prime minister will also visit Bollywood, the multi-billion-dollar Indian movie industry, in an exclusive event.

In his media address, Benjamin Netanyahu said he and his wife were very happy that they were going to Bollywood.

“We had seen and heard so much, we wanted to see for ourselves.”