Jerusalem: Israel and India have a “gehri dosti” (deep friendship), Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said and thanked his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for his “deep commitment” to the “strong and robust friendship”.
Describing the opportunities of collaboration between the two countries as “endless”, Bennett, in a special video message released on Saturday evening, stressed that “the ties between Israel and India are strong and together they will only grow stronger”, as the two nations celebrated 30 years of establishment of diplomatic relations.
“There is something I wanted to tell to all of the people of India. Israel and India have a “gehri dosti”, Deep Friendship. Today we honour 30 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and India. Thirty years of a wonderful partnership, a deep cultural connection, and military and economic cooperation,” he said.
Though India had recognised Israel on September 17, 1950, full-fledged diplomatic relations between the countries were established on January 29, 1992.
“I would like to thank my dear friend, Prime Minister Modi, for his leadership and deep commitment to this strong and robust friendship.
Our countries may be different in size but we share much in common – our rich history, the inherent warmth of our peoples, and our cutting edge innovation and technology”, the Israeli prime minister said amidst a series of activities under way to mark the occasion.
The video was tagged to a tweet which said, “Today, we celebrate 30 years of diplomatic relations between Israel & India. We celebrate a strong partnership, An incredibly deep friendship, & optimism for the future!”.
He wrote in Hindi, “Together we will continue to achieve more remarkable achievements”.
In New Delhi, Prime Minister Modi, in his special video message, said there cannot be a better time to set new goals for taking forward India-Israel relations and asserted that the importance of the relationship has increased amid significant changes in the world.
Modi said people of India and Israel have always shared a special relationship.
“This day holds importance in our relationship as full diplomatic ties were established between the two countries 30 years ago. A new chapter between the two countries had begun. It was a new chapter but history between us is age-old.
“For centuries, the Jew community has stayed in India in a harmonious environment without any discrimination and has grown. It has made an important contribution in our developmental journey,” Modi said.
On Friday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Israel’s foreign minister Yair Lapid penned op-eds in an Israeli and an Indian newspaper emphasising that “friendship and trust” are not only positive traits, but also “real assets” with which the two countries have worked together to “deepen their roots” for the last three decades, expressing hopes that their achievements together will continue to bear fruit.
The celebrations to commemorate 30 years of diplomatic ties are likely to continue through the year but anniversary celebrations have been marked by illumination of historic sites in both countries – the Gateway of India and Teen Murti Haifa Chowk in India and Masada in southern Israel’s Judean desert which is a popular tourist site.