Modi speaks with Netanyahu on ways to boost bilateral ties

Narendra Modi Greece

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday discussed ways to strengthen India-Israel relations and deepen cooperation in defence and security.

“Spoke with PM @netanyahu and discussed ways to strengthen the multifaceted India-Israel friendship, deepen our focus on innovation partnership, and our ongoing cooperation in defense and security,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted on Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu tweeted, “Just spoke with Indian PM @narendramodi about ways to strengthen the close relationship between #Israel and #India. Together we’ll advance security & economic relations, with a focus on high-tech. Exciting times ahead!”

Israeli Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, recently said Prime Minister Modi’s ‘historic’ visit to Israel in 2017 broke the ice between the two nations and the famous picture of him with ex-Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the pictures that will stay as a symbol of how things are done.

“The famous picture of PM Modi with ex-Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at the Olga beach is one that will stay as a symbol of how things are done,” Gilon told ANI while explaining the bond between India-Israel.

Ambassador Gilon said the change in the bilateral relationship between the two countries came after a first-ever visit of the Indian Prime Minister to Israel followed by Netanyahu’s visit to India.

“We have to say that there were visits before that of Indian President and Israeli President, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, but the visit of PM Modi and a few months later in 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to India on January 18 – this was a game changer to relations between the two countries,” added Gilon.

PM Modi was on a visit to Israel from July 4-6, 2017, at the invitation of Netanyahu. The Prime Minister had called the visit “ground-breaking” after he was received personally by Netanyahu at the airport.

India established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992 and since then, the relationship has evolved into a multi-dimensional partnership. “The relations started a little bit slower than hoped, but the big change in 1992 established full diplomatic relations between the two countries,” said Gilon.

The Israeli envoy expanded on how both countries upgraded relations to a strategic partnership, adding that several doors opened for cooperation.

“Thanks to that change, push that was done – we call it de-hyphenation — in a way India came and said- we have Palestinian issue and Pakistan, we have other issues-Israel will be dealt as Israel, the interest we have with Israel, not the interest we have with Palestine, we will deal with them or issues of Pakistan, other issues. I think this a very healthy approach which enabled a strong relationship between the two countries,” the envoy added.

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