Modi leaves for Israel on his three-day historic visit

Jul 05, 2017, 00:17
Modi leaves for Israel on his three-day historic visit

He also welcomed Modi in Hebrew.

Stating that India-Israel ties have seen rapid growth since the establishment of full diplomatic relations, Modi said: "Common objectives of economic prosperity, strong technology and innovation ties and the need to secure our societies define the space for convergent action between us".

Israel's per capita gross national product (GNP) has reached $40,000, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a speech Tuesday morning - nearly as high as Japan's.

During the Cold War, India did not have open relations with Israel, leaning heavily in favour of the Palestinians.

But, India now hopes to leverage its relationship with Israel to attract more investment, and gain from Israeli cutting-edge technology and defence. "And today that is completely abandoned", said Karat. Modi touched upon a personal memory of Netayanhu's - this was the day his older brother was killed leading the Entebbe anti-hijacking operation to free 94 Israeli hostages. Modi, who was given a red carpet welcome, hugged Netanyahu after descending from the special aircraft.

Finally, New Delhi impressed Netanyahu so much that he made a decision to personally receive Modi at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport, an honour which was given only to US Presidents or Pope. "Aapka swagat hai, mere dost (welcome, my friend)", Netanyahu said in Hindi, adding, "We love India".

Israel, constantly searching for allies at the United Nations and for new business partners, has portrayed the visit as a major diplomatic victory. In the case of Modi, he will accompany him for most of the visit, an honour usually reserved for only top level guests like the U.S. president.

India's warmer ties with Israel have bolstered fears that India's large Muslim population is being sidelined in a country governed by Modi's Hindu nationalist party. "It's so natural that we can ask what took so long for them to blossom", he said.

Prime Minister Modi also signed the Visitors' Book at Yad Vashem.

Modi diembarks from Air India One.

He further said that India is a very old civilisation, but a very young nation and the talented and skill youth of the country are also its driving force. And now, unlike many foreign officials visiting Israel, Modi will not go on to meet Palestinian leaders in Ramallah.

Working to modernise its military to counter China and Pakistan, India is now Israel's biggest arms market, thought to be worth about $1 billion per year, according to Reuters.

PM Modi added, "We must resolutely oppose evils of terrorism, radicalism and violence".

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