Contending that terror is a global menace, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Tel Aviv have reviewed existing cooperation and future possibilities of enhancing engagement in dealing with the threat.
Both the leaders also expressed their countries’ keenness to strengthen ties, with Mr. Netanyahu emphasising that he “believes that relations between the two countries were poised for rapid development” following his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September in New York.
During that meeting, the Israeli Premier had said that “sky is the limit” in terms of prospects of cooperation between the two countries.
Mr. Singh and Mr. Netanyahu discussed the regional situation and the evolving threats to the global communities from terror.
Mr. Singh said terror was a threat not only to countries like India and Israel but to the whole world.
Vowing to strengthen India’s “very warm” relations with Israel, Mr. Singh on his first bilateral visit to Israel said, “India and Israel share very warm and cordial bilateral relations. We look forward to strengthen it further”.
Fresh from his participation at Interpol General Assembly in Monaco, Mr. Singh told PTI that he also made a strong pitch for cooperation in the field of cyber security during his one hour conversation with the Israeli Premier.
Mr. Singh was earlier widely quoted in the press for highlighting the use of social media for indoctrination by Jihadi elements and the urgent need to device ways to curb this practice through the use of internet.
He also made a special reference to Modi’s “Make in India” initiative and invited Israeli industries, including the defence sector, to take advantage of the investment friendly policies adopted by the new government.
Expressing satisfaction at the growth in bilateral ties in a range of areas, including defence and agriculture, Mr. Singh noted that signing of agreements recently in the area of Homeland security had opened another sector for mutually beneficial cooperation.
Mr. Singh particularly emphasised on the importance of capacity building and training in this context.
“The future emphasis should be to build a hi-tech partnership befitting two leading knowledge economies,” the Indian leader said.
Both leaders also agreed that the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) under discussion between the two sides should also be signed early.
Mr. Netanyahu briefed the Indian Home Minister on technologies that had been developed by Israel in areas such as aviation security, border protection and water harvesting.
Responding favourably to Mr. Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, the Israeli leader said that his country is ready and willing to discuss transfer and development of technologies with India.
“Israeli industries, including the defence industries, could ‘make in India’ and thereby reduce costs of manufacturing products and systems developed by Israel,” the Israeli Premier said.
The Israeli leader also expressed willingness to send a delegation from Israeli industries to visit India to explore manufacturing opportunities in different sectors.
Mr. Singh, in this context, proposed exploring together third country markets in Africa and Latin America, where Indian industry has a strong presence.
The Indian Home Minister earlier yesterday took a helicopter tour of the Jordan Valley and Israel’s northern and southern Region with National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen to get a sense of the security situation in the region.
Mr. Cohen had recently met Mr. Singh in New Delhi and discussed “common challenges” faced by the two countries and their solutions, emphasising his country’s “willingness to expand cooperation in all fields and in any level”.
Israel has extended a red carpet welcome for the Indian leader making several exceptions which are reserved only for heads of states.
Mr. Singh was also hosted by Israel’s Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich on Thursday evening.