JERUSLAEM/TEL AVIV: It was a veritable feast of camaraderie, heart-felt compliments, hugs and handshakes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and India’s Prime Minister showered eulogies on each other and the blossoming India-Israel relations.
Mr Modi touched down at Ben-Gurion airport to begin a historic visit to Israel that promises to put India-Israel relations on a higher plane than ever. Hugging the Indian leader, a beaming Netanyahu, alluding to what Mr Modi told him in his first meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UNGA in September 2014, raised the bar, saying not even the sky is the limit for India-Israel relations. In a unique gesture, the Israeli leader was present, along with his senior ministers, to welcome Mr Modi, the first-ever visit by an Indian prime minister to Israel.
“Welcome to Israel…Aapka Swagat Hai Mere Dost. We have been waiting for you, for a long time. We love India and admire Indian culture,” said Mr Netanyahu.
“You are a great leader of India and a great world leader,” Mr Netanyahu said in his remarks after the Indian prime minister was given a ceremonial welcome at the airport.
“I remember what you told me in our first meeting- when it comes to India & Israel relations, the sky is the limit,” Mr Netanyahu said.
Mr Modi, looking dapper in a cream white bandgalla suit, also spoke effusively. “I thank my friend Netanyahu for receiving me. My visit is about the strength of our societies and our strong partnership,” he said.
Describing his visit to Israel as “ground-breaking,” Mr Modi conjured up a bright picture for India-Israel relations. Mr Modi’s visit will generate a roadmap for expanding and accelerating India-Israel relations for the next 25 years across the spectrum.
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