Narendra Modi's visit to Israel

Israel backs India's fight on terror

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu  

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No difference between Hamas, LeT, say officials

Israel believes that there is no difference between Pakistan based “Lashkar-e-Taiba” and the Hamas group operating in Israel and Palestine, senior officials in Jerusalem said, pointing out that the Israeli government has unequivocally supported India on the issue of terrorism.

“Killing civilians for any spurious ideological reason is terrorism,” said Mark Sofer, Deputy Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Asia-Pacific department. “As opposed to a number of other countries in the world, Israel has never hidden the fact that it supports India hook, line, sinker on the subject of terrorism. The horrors coming out of Pakistan, from the Lashkar-e-Taiba are known, and we support India’s right to defend itself against terrorism just as Israel has the same right.”

The strong words from Israeli officials came at a briefing on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel that begins on Tuesday — the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister — which they described as “historic” with “huge symbolic significance.”

Close cooperation

The words on the common threat of terrorism were shared by Mr. Modi, who told an Israeli newspaper in an interview published on Monday that, “India and Israel could cooperate even more closely and complement each other's efforts to fight with the menace of terrorism.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry on Monday unveiled the final agenda for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to the West Asian nation, where he will be escorted throughout by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they visit a floriculture farm, a memorial for Indian soldiers in Haifa, a water desalination programme on a beach, lunch with business CEO’s from India and Israel together, as well as an address a gathering of about 5,000 Israeli citizens of Indian origin in Tel Aviv.

India and Israel will sign a unique Strategic Partnership on non-security issues including Agriculture, Water, Science, technology and Space, said Mark Sofer, Deputy Director General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Asia-Pacific department.

 

“Strategic partnership means a lot of things… including first and foremost food security…. [India] needs to feed and provide sustenance in the form of water to its 1.3 billion people and this visit will be predicated on the relationship on issues we can cooperate on which will bring maximum benefits to people of both sides,” said Mr. Sofer, in reply to a question about why India and Israel were not signing a full-fledged Strategic partnership, despite close defence ties.

On his arrival on Tuesday in Tel Aviv, Mr. Modi will receive protocol reserved only for the U.S. President and the Pope, as Mr. Netanyahu greets him at the airport for a welcome ceremony. Also present will be priests of different faiths including rabbis, imams and priests.

Both leaders will then travel to the Danziger floriculture farm in a village community also called a “Moshav” not far from the airport. Mr. Modi will then pay respects at Israel’s holocaust memorial “Yad Vashem” in Jerusalem.

Both leaders are expected to make statements before Mr. Modi heads for dinner at Mr. Netanyahu’s residence on Tuesday night. During his entire stay in Jerusalem, Mr. Modi will stay at the King David Hotel, which is historic as it was bombed by a Zionist group in 1946 during Israel’s struggle for nationhood, killing 92 people. It is the hotel most heads of state have been hosted at ever since, and local newspapers say Mr. Modi will stay in the same suite of rooms U.S. President Trump stayed in during his visit in May.

On Wednesday, the leaders and their delegations will have talks, and the signing of several agreements including that have been discussed over the past few months during visits by at least seven separate delegations from India, and will issue a joint statement.

Recounting the increase in high level visits from India in the run up to this visit, which was first announced in 2014, but has been actualized this year, as a part of the 25th anniversary of Israel-India setting up full diplomatic ties.

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Printable version | Nov 22, 2019 9:12:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/israel-backs-india-on-terror/article19205749.ece

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