Israel’s Prime Minister: ‘Sky’s the limit’ for India & Israel

In the first meeting between the Indian PM & Israeli PM in 11 years, the 2 leaders discussed IS, Iran, & trade ties.



Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Sunday evening with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York. It was the first meeting between an Israeli and Indian prime minister since late Israeli PM Ariel Sharon visited New Delhi in 2003.

Benjamin Netanyahu and Nevandra Modi ( Prime Minister's Office )

Benjamin Netanyahu and Narendra Modi – Photo: Prime Minister’s Office

At the beginning of the meeting Netanyahu said to Modi the “sky is the limit” in Israeli-Indian ties.

“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,” Netanyahu said.

The Indian premier visited Israel in 2006 as western state of Gujarat. If accepted, it would be the first visit of an Indian head of state in Israel.

Modi reciprocated by saying: “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.”

In the meeting Prime Minister Netanyahu raised the issue of the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran as well as the global threat posed by Islamic terrorism. He also proposed that Israel and India cooperate in the technology sector, especially in developments in agriculture and water technology. Netanyahu updated his Indian counterpart on his decision to establish a national cyber defense authority and proposed bilateral contacts on the issue, saying that cyber would be a significant economic sector in the future.

Watch: Netanyahu-Modi meeting

Modi, in rock star US debut, vows to make India proud

Modi received a rock star welcome in New York Sunday as he vowed to work tirelessly to make his nation a major power.


“PM Narendra Modi with actor Hugh Jackman at the Global Citizen Festival” – Photo: AFP

In a massive show of support for a right-wing leader once shunned by Washington, some 18,500 people of Indian origin from across the United States and Canada packed into New York’s Madison Square Garden where they chanted his name and wore T-shirts bearing his picture.

Modi, who Monday will enjoy a red carpet welcome at the White House, renewed campaign pledges to unlock India’s economic potential by streamlining bureaucracy. He hailed Indian Americans for showing an example through their professional successes.

“There was a time when people thought that we were a country of snake-charmers,” Modi said. “Our people used to play with snakes, but now they play with the mouse — and that mouse makes the whole world run.”

Modi promised to start lifetime visas for foreigners of Indian origin and, endorsing a proposal of the previous government without setting a date, to issue visas on arrival for US citizens.

“This kind of love has not been given to any Indian leader ever,” he said of the Indian-American reception. “I will repay that loan by building the India of your dreams.”

Modi, who won India’s widest electoral victory in three decades in April-May elections, fired back at critics who have urged him to launch quicker reforms as he recalled his humble background running a tea stall as a teenager.

“People ask for a big vision? Well, I got here by selling tea,” Modi, speaking for an hour in Hindi without notes, said to thunderous applause.

“I’m a very modest man, and that’s why I plan to do big things for modest people,” he said, listing promises that include building more toilets and cleaning the Ganges holy river.

Asia will dominate the 21st century

Pointing to US leaders’ statements that Asia will dominate the 21st century, Modi said: “And some say it will be India’s century. India has the capacity to achieve that potential.”

Avi Ohion/GPO

Benjamin Netanyahu and Narendra Modi – Photo: Avi Ohion/GPO

Sporting a vest in the saffron associated with Hinduism, Modi spoke from a slowly revolving stage in the storied arena that is home to the New York Knicks basketball team and a top destination for big-ticket musicians, with Billy Joel to play later this week.

In a touch inspired by US political conventions, balloons fell as Modi finished his speech while he waved to a crowd that chanted in Hindi, “Long Live Mother India.”

More than 30 US members of Congress took part in the reception that warmed up with Bollywood and traditional dances. But from the start, the crowd chanted for Modi.

At one point co-emcee Hari Sreenivasan, an Indian-born news correspondent on US public television, gently tried to quiet the crowd, saying: “This is starting to sound like a campaign rally. He’s already been elected.”

While foreign leaders often hold community receptions when visiting the United States, an event on the scale of Modi’s is exceedingly rare, with only popes regularly packing stadiums.

Modi’s predecessors held large receptions for Indian Americans, albeit more subtly inside hotel ballrooms.

But US-based supporters have campaigned for years to boost the image of Modi, who was refused a visa by the United States in 2005 on human rights grounds over anti-Muslim riots when he was leader of the western state of Gujarat.

Modi has denied wrongdoing and was never charged. An activist group on the eve of his visit announced a lawsuit against Modi on behalf of three victims alleging “attempted genocide” and offered $10,000 to anyone who served the prime minister a summons.

The United States shifted course on Modi and rushed to court him as it became clear he would rise to power. Obama plans a two-day welcome for Modi starting with a dinner on Monday.

(with AFP)


View original i24news publication at: