NEW DELHI: India courts Israel openly as both countries on Tuesday vowed to combat terrorism together. President Reuven Rivli, the first Israeli President to visit India in two decades, renewed Tel Aviv’s invite to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the Jewish country.
Prime Minister Modi held delegation-level talks with the visiting Israeli President at the Hyderabad house here. Both the countries recognised the need to secure their countries from “forces of terrorism and extremism”.
“We recognize that terrorism is a global challenge, knows no boundaries and has extensive links with other forms of organized crime. Regrettably, one of the countries of its origin and spread is in India’s neighbourhood,” Modi said during a joint media event with the visitng President in the obvious reference to Pakistan. The two countries will specifically be cooperating in the cyber domain.
“We agreed that the international community must act with resolve and determination against terror networks and States that harbour them. Failure to act and silence of speech only encourages the terrorists,” he said.
President Rivlin also echoed Prime Minister Modi’s concern saying: “Nothing can justify terrorism. We stand together in defending our people and our values. Terror is terror is terror is terror.” The Israeli President on his first visit to India had on Monday paid homage to the six Jews who lost their lives in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack done by armed terrorist from Pakistan. Interestingly, Pakistan – trying to project itself as the leader of the Islamic countries – has refused to recognise Israel. A Pakistani Passport has clear inscription, “This passport is valid for all countries of the world except Israel”.
President Rivlin is on a six-day visit to the country and was particularly upbeat about the opportunities of “Make In India” and “Make With India”. The President also renewed the invitation for Prime Minister Modi to visit his country. “It will be our privilege to welcome you at Jerusalem, the capital of Israel,” President Rivlin said.
Last year, Narendra Modi-led government had indicated that it will be steering its foreign policy in the Middle East from neutrality towards courting Israel more openly as it showed interest that he will soon become the first Indian Prime Minister ever to visit the Jewish nation state. This was a major departure from India’s careful balancing that included an in-principle stand that supported statehood to Palestine and at the same time extended a hand of friendship with Tel Aviv.
The two countries have important bilateral ties but India despite being the biggest buyer of Israeli military hardware has been shy of flaunting it overtly so far. Prime Minister Modi following a masculine Foreign Policy intends to change it.
The two countries seeking to “broad base” their relationship also signed agreements in the field of water management and agriculture as well. President Rivlin will be visiting a Power station in Agra and an agriculture innovation centre in Karnal during his six-day visit.