Modi arrives in Israel on historic visit, says will build strong and resilient partnership

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being received by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on his arrival, at Ben Gurion Airport, in Tel Aviv, Israel on July 4, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi being received by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on his arrival, at Ben Gurion Airport, in Tel Aviv, Israel on July 4, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here today at the start of a historic three-day visit to Israel -- the first ever by an Indian head of government -- that is aimed at deepening the bilateral engagement and building a strong and resilient partnership between the two countries.
In a rare gesture, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several members of his Cabinet were present to receive Mr. Modi in an elaborate official welcome ceremony at the Ben Gurion Airport. Mr. Modi later inspected a guard of honour.
At a brief ceremony that followed, Mr. Netanyahu began with the Hindi words, "Aap ka swagat hai, Mere dost" (Welcome, my friend). He said Mr. Modi was welcome with open arms and that even the sky was not the limit for cooperation between the two countries. He described Mr. Modi as a great leader and a "world leader".
"Shalom le kulaam ani semya mayodh lehiyot po (I am delighted to be here in Israel)," Mr. Modi said in response.
"It is my singular honour to be the first ever Prime Minister of India to undertake this ground breaking visit to Israel. I want to thank my friend, Prime Minister Netanyahu, for the invitation and for receiving me with so much warmth. My visit celebrates the strength of centuries old links between our societies. Based on these bonds our partnership has maintained a strong and sustained upswing since the establishment of full diplomatic relations 25 years ago," he said.
Mr. Modi said the people of Israel have built a nation on democratic principles. "They have nurtured it with hard work, grit and the spirit of innovation. You have marched on regardless of adversity and converted challenges into opportunity. India applauds your achievements."
"Today is July 4, exactly 41 years since Operation Entebbe. The day when your Prime Minister, and my friend, Bibi, lost his older brother Yoni, while saving the lives of so many Israeli hostages. Your heroes are an inspiration for the younger generations," he said.
Mr. Modi said India is a very old civilization but a young nation. He said 800 million people in India are below the age of 35. "The talented and skilled youth of India are also its driving force. They propel my vision to transform India, its industry, its economy, its way of doing business, and its interface with the world," he said.
"In our path of sustained high growth and all around development, India counts Israel among its important partners. The need to rely on science, technology, innovation, and higher technical education to overcome our developmental challenges is common to both of us. These domains also bring together the creative energy and ideas of the highly skilled youth and entrepreneurs of the two countries. Alongside building a partnership for shared economic prosperity, we are also cooperating to secure our societies against common threats such as terrorism. 
"A progressive partnership in all these areas would shape the scope of my conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu. I am also keen to interact with the Indian diaspora in Israel, including a large number of Jews of Indian origin, who have enriched both our societies. 
"My visit marks a path breaking journey of engagement. A journey that we are excited to undertake together for the good of our people and societies. As we march together, a strong and resilient partnership with Israel will be my intent and focus. I thank you once again for this tremendous welcome," Mr. Modi added.
Modi arrives in Israel on three-day visit
"My friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, welcome to Israel," Mr. Netanyahu said.
"Prime Minister, we've been waiting for you a long time. We've been waiting almost 70 years in fact because yours is truly a historic visit. It's the first time an Indian Prime Minister is visiting Israel. We receive you with open arms. We love India. We admire your culture, we admire your history, your democracy, your commitment to progress. We view you as kindred spirits in our common quest to provide a better future for our peoples and for our world," he said.
He recalled that, when they first met at the United Nations three years ago, they had agreed to break down the remaining walls between the two countries.
"We shook each other's hands and we agreed to forge a historic partnership for progress. We then met again in Paris and since then we've spoken many times on the phone. But I remember my friend what you said in that first meeting. You said that when it comes to India-Israel's relations, the sky is the limit.
"But actually, my friend, the sky isn't the limit because today even our space programs are working together to achieve even greater heights. The ties between our talented innovative peoples is natural. It's so natural that we could ask what took so long for them to blossom? Well, it took a meeting of minds and hearts, it took a commitment of our governments. We have that today. 
"On this visit, your Make in India initiative meets my Make with India policy. We're setting up a 40 million dollar innovation fund as the seed for even greater cooperation on technology between us. Our partnership extends to water, agriculture, security, energy, many, many other fields. I believe the formula for success is simple: it's I-square T-square. That equals – Indian talent times Israeli technology. It equals Israel-India's ties for tomorrow. I2 T2. This is the degree of mathematics I remember from my student days. But I'm confident of the real mathematics of life.
"I'm confident of the success of our partnership for many reasons: First, is the talent of our peoples. It's been said, Prime Minister, that in Silicon Valley in California the two most common languages overheard are Hindi and Hebrew. Occasionally, one hears some native English too. Second, I believe in the success of our partnership because of the great sympathy between our peoples - the natural comradery between Indians and Israelis. The Jews of India and the 100, 000 Israelis of India descent are a wonderful human bridge between our two nations, our two peoples. 
"Third, I'm confident of our success because of leadership. Prime Minister Modi, you are a great leader of India and a great world leader. Your visit to Israel is a testament to that. Our two peoples have deeply held values rooted in ancient cultures, yet we both seek to realize the promise of a better future. I know, and this visit marks that very clearly, that we can do even more, even better together," Mr. Netanyahu added.
Apart from holding detailed discussions with Mr. Netanyahu on all matters of mutual interest, including common challenges such as terrorism, Mr. Modi will also call on Israeli President Reuven Rivlin during his visit.
Among other engagements, he will pay homage to Indian soldiers at the Indian Cemetery in Haifa and address members of the Indian community at an event in Tel Aviv.
India established full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992 and since then the relationship has evolved into a multi-dimensional partnership. This year both the countries are commemorating 25 years of diplomatic relations.
In a post on his Facebook page yesterday, on the eve of his departure, Mr. Modi said that, as the first Indian Prime Minister to travel to Israel, he was greatly looking forward to this unprecedented visit that will bring the two countries and people closer. He said he would have in-depth talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the full spectrum of the bilateral partnership and ways of strengthening it in diverse fields for mutual benefit. "We will also have the chance to discuss major common challenges like terrorism," he said.
"My programme during the visit gives me an opportunity to engage with a cross-section of Israeli society. I am particularly looking forward to interacting with the large vibrant Indian diaspora in Israel that represents an enduring link between our two peoples.
"On the economic side, I will join with leading Indian and Israeli CEOs and start-ups to discuss our shared priority of expanding business and investment collaboration on the ground. In addition, I hope to get insights into Israel’s accomplishments in technology and innovation through on-site visits.
"During my stay, I will visit the Yad Vashem Memorial Museum to honour the memory of the victims of the holocaust that counts among the greatest tragedies in human history. Later, I will also pay my respects to the courageous Indian soldiers who laid down their lives during the liberation of Haifa in 1918," he added.


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