NEW DELHI: Noting that both sides wanted to aggressively scale up the partnership, he said apart from strengthening the three existing pillars of cooperation — agriculture, science and technology, and security — which ‘touch the lives of our peoples,’ the two sides had decided to venture into less explored areas of cooperation, such as oil& gas, cyber security, films, and start-ups. He then went on to express his eagerness to show the fruits of the existing cooperation during their visit to his home state, Gujarat, on Wednesday.
After a brief hug, Netahyahu began by thanking Modi for the “exceptional friendship and hospitality” shown to him and the people and state of Israel. “You are a revolutionary leader...in the best sense of the word. You are revolutionising India, you are catapulting this magnificient state into the future, and you have revolutionized the relationship between Israel and India.”
Noting that he was the son of a historian, Netanyahu said India and Israel are two of the most ancient civilizations in history, and yet “it is an amazing fact that until you visited Israel, no leader of India, in 3,000 years, of our own sovereign existence and our history, has visited Israel. You were the first leader of the Indian state to do this.
We are ushering a new era in our relations. We have had diplomatic relations for 25 years, but something different is happening now, because of your leadership, and because of our partnership,” he said.
“No doubt this is a historic event,” said a former Indian diplomat who had served in Israel. “The warm chemistry between the two leaders is unmistakable. And they are obviously in a hurry, as Modi himself admitted, to take it to the next level.
However, in our enthusiasm to do so, we must not forget that the rest of the world, including the Arab world as well as others who are critical of Israel’s strong-arm tactics, are watching this unfold and wondering how it impacts their relations with India. We must learn to calibrate our relationship — like we did at the UN recently — and ensure that Indian interests come first.” Later in the evening, the two leaders attended the India Israel business summit.