NEW DELHI: India and Israel have a "truly special" relationship and since the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to that country in 2017, the ties between the two nations have "really taken off", External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday.
In his address as a Guest of Honour at the celebrations held here marking the 74th Independence Day of Israel, the EAM said, for him the 2017 visit of Modi, the first by an Indian PM to Israel, was a "goosebumps moment" for him.
Modi had visited the Jewish state in July 2017, and this year also marks 30 years of the full diplomatic relations between the two countries.
"This year is also the 75th year of our Independence, and these significant milestones in our respective countries help us look to the horizons of our expanding relationship," Jaishankar said.
Israel's Ambassador to India Naor Gilon recalled the historic cultural ties between the two countries and contributions made by Jewish immigrants in India, in the field of cinema, education, industry and philanthropy historically.
The Indian foreign minister also acknowledged the contributions of Jewish community in India in various fields in his address.
"When I look back at our relationship, in the last several years that I have been associated with, for me the goosebumps moment in a way was at Tel Aviv, when the PM visited Israel in July 2017, first Indian PM to visit Israel.
And, since then our relationship has really taken off," he said.
The minister also said that despite the geographical distance, the affinity between the peoples of the two countries is "so visible" that strengthen the bonds and help explore new connections.
Focus is on knowledge-based relationship and Israel is an "important partner" in 'Make-in-India' relationship, he added.
The Israeli envoy and the Indian foreign minister later raised a toast to mark the bilateral ties, and the 74th anniversary of Israeli Independence Day.
Jaishankar, who greeted guests by saying "Shalom! Namaste!" also said that Israeli PM Naftali Bennet was earlier scheduled to visit India, but he couldn't.
"And, whenever he visits India, he will be accorded a very, very warm welcome," he said.
The foreign minister also touched upon a range of sectors where the bilateral cooperation can be further strengthened.
Ambassador Gilon in his address asserted that he was "quite optimistic" about the next 30 years of Indo-Israeli relationship.
He also spoke about an MoU lined up with Karnataka in the coming days in the field of semiconductor technology, and pitched for expanding the number of centres of excellence in India.