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Netanyahu Meets Indian PM Modi, Says “Sky’s the Limit” on Bilateral Ties

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York Monday evening, marking the first time in more than a decade that prime ministers of the two countries met.

The Times of Israel reports:

[…] India is also one of Israel’s most important trade partners in the defense sector. A report in August put Israel as India’s fourth-largest arms supplier, with Delhi saying it spent $533 million over the last three years, according to Israeli news site Globes.

Netanyahu also raised Indian-Israeli cooperation on cyber-defense, high-tech, water and agricultural technologies.

India-based publication The Economic Times reported further:

During the 30-minute meeting, Netanyahu invited Modi to visit Israel at an early date.

Netanyahu recalled that Modi had come to Israel in his earlier capacity as Chief Minister but he now hopes that he could visit as Prime Minister, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said. Modi had visited Israel in 2006.

The Spokesperson said Prime Minister Modi has taken note of the invitation and this would be discussed further through diplomatic channels.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s office released the statements each leader made on the historic occasion.

At the start of his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Modi, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “I’m delighted to meet you Mr. Prime Minister. This is an opportunity for Israel and India to expand further our relationship. We are two old peoples, some of the oldest in the nations on earth but we are also two democracies, we’re proud of our rich traditions but we’re also eager to seize the future. I believe that if we work together we can do so with benefits to both our peoples. So in that spirit it’s a wonderful opportunity to see you here and I would like to invite you to come to Israel. I know you’ve been there before, it will be a pleasure to welcome you again, we’re very excited by the prospects of greater and greater ties with India, we think the sky is the limit.”
Indian Prime Minister Modi replied, “I agree with you that India-Israel relations are historical. I met this morning with the people from the Jewish community, American Jewish Committee, and they all appreciated that there is a deep recognition in Israel that India is the only country where anti-Semitism has never been allowed to come up, where Jews have never suffered and lived as an integral part of our society. There was a time in the city of Mumbai that Hebrew was officially taught in the university and even one of the mayors of Mumbai city was from a Jewish family.”

Ties between Israel and India, which only officially began in 1991, have increased substantially in recent years. Bilateral trade, which amounted to just $200 million in 2001, was over $6 billion last year. Modi’s election in May was received as a harbinger of stronger ties between the two nations. Last month, a crowd of 20,000 Indians demonstrated in favor of Israel and against terror in Kolkatta.

[Photo: IsraeliPM / YouTube ]