Ties with Israel on upswing: Pranab

India and Israel established full diplomatic relations only in 1992.

October 14, 2015 11:54 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 04:39 am IST - Jerusalem:

The local press here was critical of President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Palestine. The Jerusalem Post ran a story on Wednesday saying the Indian President remained silent on terror in his visit to Palestine.

Mr. Mukherjee, who arrived here on Tuesday after visiting Jordan and Palestine, called for enhanced cooperation between India and Israel in agriculture, defence and technology. This is the first time an Indian President is visiting Israel. India and Israel established full diplomatic relations only in 1992. Former Israeli President Ezer Weizman had visited India in 1997, and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon came to New Delhi in 2003 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.

“My visit to Israel is taking place at a time when relations between our two governments are taking a very positive trajectory,” said Mr. Mukherjee in the Israeli Parliament. He said Israel’s technological advances could help India increase its industrial production, and create jobs in both countries.

Mr. Mukherjee had actually reasserted India’s position in Ramallah that New Delhi supported a peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. In Abu Dis he said the “entire political leadership of India” remained committed to the Palestinian cause.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke after President Mukherjee’s address, said Israel wants peace, but for talks to be started, terror should be stopped. “Israel wants peace, I want peace. I am interested in launching negotiations immediately, without preconditions. In order for this to happen, the terror incidents will have to stop and the Palestinians will have to recognise the State of Israel.”

The Israeli Prime Minister also said: “I speak to my dear friend [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi quite often. When we met once, he told me ‘India wants Israel’ and that I see a paragon of fraternity between our two countries.”

Mr. Netanyahu and the Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein have recalled that both India and Israel are victims of “Islamic terrorism,” and urged for standing together against extremism.

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