NEW DELHI: On his second day in India on Monday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a revolutionary leader and heard his proposal for Israel to invest in India’s defence sector.
The two countries signed nine pacts to boost cooperation in key areas including cyber-security. The two prime ministers underscored the grave threat posed by terrorism and agreed to hold the next meeting of the Joint Working Group on Homeland and Public Security next month.
The issue of India voting against Israel at the UN on the Jerusalem issue also figured in the talks in which Indian officials maintained that both sides put forth their views and that the two leaders agreed that ties “are not determined by a single issue”.
Describing their talks as “wide-ranging and intensive”, Mr Modi said they reviewed the progress in the bilateral relations and agreed that “the possibilities and the opportunities” that beckon the two countries need to be seized.
“We will strengthen the existing pillars of cooperation in areas that touch the lives of our peoples. These are agriculture, science and technology, and security…In defence, I have invited Israeli companies to take advantage of the liberalised FDI [foreign direct investment] regime to make more in India with our companies.”
Mr Netanyahu described his host as a “revolutionary” leader. “You are a revolutionary leader and you are revolutionising India. You are catapulting this magnificent state into the future. And you have revolutionised the relations between Israel and India,” Mr Netanyahu told Mr Modi.
A joint statement said both prime ministers noted that Israeli companies were ready to enter joint ventures with Indian companies in the defence sector under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
On the Palestine issue, the statement said that the two prime ministers discussed the developments pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
“They reaffirmed their support for an early resumption of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians for arriving at a comprehensive negotiated solution on all outstanding issues, based on mutual recognition and effective security arrangements, for establishing a just and durable peace in the region,” it said, without referring to the status of East Jerusalem.
Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2018