India’s leader kicks off historic visit to Israel

Video published on Jul 5, 2017 via the IsraeliPM YouTube channel – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hold a press conference following their meeting.

Article via washingtonpost.com – India’s leader kicks off historic visit to Israel

By Josef Federman | AP July 4 at 3:17 PM

JERUSALEM — India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, on Tuesday kicked off a high-profile visit to Israel aimed at celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relations and strengthening his country’s already warm ties with the Jewish state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greeted Modi at Israel’s international airport near Tel Aviv and will accompany the Indian leader throughout the three-day visit. Israeli officials said the warm treatment goes well beyond diplomatic protocol and reflected the importance of the visit.

Modi, who will not be meeting Palestinian officials while he is in town, was welcomed with an honor guard and warmly hugged Netanyahu as he descended from the aircraft.

“We receive you with open arms. We love India. We admire your culture, we admire your history, your democracy, your commitment to progress,” Netanyahu said. “We view you as kindred spirits in our common quest to provide a better future for our peoples and for our world.”

Modi said it was a “singular honor” to be the first sitting prime minister of India to visit Israel.

“Alongside building a partnership for shared economic prosperity, we are also cooperating to secure our societies against common threats such as terrorism,” he said. “A progressive partnership in all these areas will shape the scope of my conversation with prime minister, my friend, Netanyahu.”

During the Cold War, India was a leading member of the Nonaligned Movement of developing countries and sided staunchly with the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel. Before ties were established in 1992, India would not even allow its citizens to enter Israel on an Indian passport.

But over the past quarter century, the two countries have cultivated warm ties, particularly in the areas of technology and defense cooperation.

India is a major purchaser of Israeli arms. This year, Israel’s state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries has announced over $2 billion in contracts to provide air and missile-defense systems to India.

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