Israeli PM Netanyahu and 'Dost' Modi Vow to Fight 'Evil Forces of Terror'
Prime Minister Narendra Modi touched down at the Ben-Gurian Airport, Tel Aviv on Tuesday, to a thunderous welcome, with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu personally receiving him as he alighted from Air India One.
Tel Aviv: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday together vowed to fight the "evils of terrorism and radicalism" that both countries face.
"We face common challenges, first of it is to defeat forces of terror that has ravaged both our countries. We need to stand and work together," Netanyahu said at a joint press conference in Jerusalem.
Modi, who became the first Indian prime minister ever to visit Israel, said both countries resolutely fight the evils of terrorism, radicalism and violence.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi touched down at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport to a thunderous welcome, with PM Netanyahu personally receiving him as he stepped out of Air India One.
The two leaders hugged each other, followed by a long handshake as the photographers captured the historic moment. Netanyahu introduced PM Modi to a legion of other dignitaries who were present at the airport.
As Netanyahu and Modi marched towards the stage through a guard of honour, the attendees stood in respect. It was the Israeli Prime Minister who walked up to the dais, stood at the podium, his hands joined, and said: "Aapka swaagat hai, mere dost."
"In this visit, your Make in India initiative, meets my Make with Israel policy. We are setting up a $40 million innovation fund as the seed for even greater cooperation on technology between us," the Israeli Prime Minister said.
Hailing Modi as "a great leader of India and a great world leader", Netanyahu said, "we have been waiting for the last 70 years" for a visit by an Indian prime minister.
The two leaders vowed to give a push to the bilateral relationship in all aspects and jointly deal with the common threats like terrorism.
"I remember what you told me in our first meeting - when it comes to India and Israel relations, the sky is the limit. But now, prime minister, let me add even sky is not the limit. We are also cooperating in space," Netanyahu told Modi.
Reflecting on the nature of the relationship that the two countries share, Netanyahu said: "Formula for success in the relationship between India and Israel is I square and T square... Indian talent and Israel’s technology. This is India-Israel ties for tomorrow."
Narendra Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to undertake a visit to Israel after two countries established diplomatic relations in 1992, and the fact found space in Netanyahu's welcome address. "We have waited for you for a long time, we receive you with open arms," Netanyahu said, adding, "I know that we can do even better, together."
After the Israeli Prime Minister finished speaking, PM Modi, overwhelmed by the warm welcome, took the podium, thanking Israel and Netanyahu for gestures extended to him. "It is my singular honour to be the first-ever Prime Minister of India to undertake this ground-breaking visit to Israel," he said.
Declaring is visit "groundbreaking", PM Modi said that "Israeli heroes are an inspiration to India's youth, who are talented and a driving force."
"India is an old civilisation but a young nation," PM Modi continued, adding that his visit was about "the strength of our societies and our strong partnership."
Describing Israel as an "important development partner", he said, "This is an exciting journey that we will undertake together, for the good of our people and our society."
"My visit marks the beginning of a pathbreaking relationship between the two countries," PM Modi said, "I thank you once again for the tremendous welcome. Thank you, thank you."
At the joint press conference before dinner, Netanyahu thanked PM Modi for having already visited a number destinations of historical significance in Israel.
"You have only been here a few hours, but have already honoured Holocaust victims and paid respects. You have also seen our technological advancements," Netanyahu said.
Alluding to the history of Israel, PM Netanyahu said: "You have seen our painful past and our exciting future," adding that India is a great country... "We are unequal in size, we are equal in spirit. We are sister democracies."
PM Netanyahu ended his press address with another hug to PM Modi, who started his address extending heartfelt thanks to the Israeli PM and the first lady.
I thank PM Netanyahu and his wife for opening his home to me today. Their warmth is overwhelming. I feel this is a home away from home, the PM said.
PM Modi, then, reflected on the glorious history that the two countries share, saying the first Jews arrived on India's southern coast almost 1000 years ago.
Talking about his visit to the Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, PM Modi said that it was "a mark of the unspeakable evil committed against 6 million Jews" "Since then, Jews have flourished. Their religion and practices have also thrived in India."
Prime Minister Modi also talked about the most important field the two countries look forward to cooperating in. "In modern times, we have seen our diplomatic ties expand over the last 25 years. India’s focus on using tech provides wide scope to create links between our countries."
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