Welcome 'mere dost', Israel PM Netanyahu tells Modi
'Formula for success is simple, it's I-squared & T-squared which equals Indian talent & Israeli technology equals India-Israel ties for tomorrow,' said Netanyahu. Photograph: (ANI)
Indian Prime Minister Modi landed at Ben Gurion airport in Israel on Tuesday evening.
He was received at the airport by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- a singular accord for a visiting dignitary.
Modi's visit to Israel is being seen as a "coming out" of the relationship between the two countries since they opened diplomatic relations in 1992.
Modi landed at Ben Gurion dressed in the colours of the Israeli flag -- white and blue.
He was wearing a white bandhgala and a blue pocket square.
Modi was welcomed by Netanyahu -- the two leaders hugged on the tarmac -- as "mere dost".
"Aapka swagat hai mere dost," said Netanyahu in his welcome address.
"Mr Prime Minister, we have been waiting for you for a very long time. In fact, we have been waiting for you for 70 years. This is truly a historic visit," said Netanyahu.
This is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Israel.
"We love India, admire your culture, history, democracy and commitment to progress," Netanyahu added.
"I am confident of the real mathematics of life, of success of our partnership for many reasons; talent of our people," he added.
And: "Formula for success is simple, it's I-squared & T-squared which equals Indian talent & Israeli technology equals India-Israel ties for tomorrow."
Modi, in his address, reciprocated with: "It is my singular honour to be the first-ever PM of India to undertake this groundbreaking visit to Israel."
"Alongside building a partnership for shared economic prosperity, we are also cooperating to secure our societies," Modi added.
"A progressive partnership in all these areas would shape the scope of my conversation with my friend PM Benjamin Netanyahu," he said.
Modi, in his address, also mentioned the "Raid on Entebbe"; and that it was Netanyahu's brother who had died in the operation.
Operation Entebbe had been carried out by Israeli Defence Forces to take back control of an El Air flight that had been hijacked by Palestinian militants and diverted to the Ugandan capital Entebbe.
"Today is July 4, exactly 41 years since Operation Entebbe when your PM and my friend Bibi lost his brother while rescuing hostages," said Modi.
Modi's visit to Israel is expected to focus cooperation between the two countries in the areas of water management, agriculture, and start-ups.
Apart of course from defence; India is one of the largest buyers of Israeli defence equipment.
Modi will be in Israel for three days after which he will fly to Hamburg, Germany for the G20 summit.
Significantly, Modi will not -- over the course of his three-day visit -- be visiting Palestine, indicating that India no longer hyphenates its Israel relationship with Palestine.
Narendra Modi's itinerary in Israel:
Tuesday July 4:
Modi lands in Tel Aviv at 4pm (6:30 pm IST)
Visits Danziger flower farm
Visits Yad Vashem memorial to victims of the holocaust
Has dinner with Netanyahu
Wednesday July 5:
Meets with President Reuven Rivlin at 10:30 am (1 pm IST)
Meets Netanyahu for talks at 11:30 am (2 pm IST)
Modi and Netanyahu hold joint press conference at 2 pm ( 4:30 pm IST)
Modi visits museum with Netanyahu
Modi gives speech to Indian community at 9 pm (11:30 pm IST)
Thursday July 6:
Modi travels to Haifa to pay homage to Indian soldiers at 11:30 am ( 2pm IST)
Modi has lunch with CEOs
Modi leaves for Germany at 5 pm (7:30 pm IST)