Israel's new government will work to "advance strategic relations" with India, Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday, a day after Naftali Bennett became the new premier ending Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year hold on power. "I look forward to working together to advance the strategic relations between our countries and hope to welcome you to Israel soon," Lapid tweeted in response to a congratulatory message from External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
Jaishankar earlier in a tweet congratulated his new Israeli counterpart."Congratulate APM & FM @yairlapid of Israel on his appointment. Look forward to working closely together to further advance our multifaceted strategic partnership," Jaishankar wrote.
— יאיר לפיד - Yair Lapid (@yairlapid) June 14, 2021
Lapid, the head of the Yesh Atid party, would take over premiership in September 2023 under a power-sharing deal with Bennett, serving for two years till the end of the term. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Bennett on being sworn in as Israel's new prime minister, and said he looked forward to meeting him and deepening the strategic partnership between the two countries as they celebrate 30 years of the upgradation of diplomatic ties next year.
In his tweets, Modi also conveyed his "profound gratitude" to Netanyahu, whose long tenure as Israeli prime minister ended on Sunday. Modi thanked Netanyahu for his "personal attention" to India-Israel strategic partnership.
"As you complete your successful tenure as the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, I convey my profound gratitude for your leadership and personal attention to India-Israel strategic partnership @netanyahu," Modi tweeted. The personal chemistry between the two leaders has often been talked about in the Israeli media and Prime Minister Modi got a royal welcome during his historic trip to the Jewish state in July 2017 when Netanyahu accompanied him almost like a shadow during his entire visit.
The gesture then extended to Modi is reserved for very few people in Israel. Bennett, the 49-year-old leader of the right-wing Yamina party, took oath of office on Sunday after the Knesset (Parliament) elected him as the 13th Prime Minister of Israel.
The new government - an unprecedented coalition of ideologically divergent political parties drawn from the Right, the Left and the Centre, along with an Arab party - has a razor-thin majority in a 120-member house.