India, Israel consolidate ties; Talks focus on defence, terrorism

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin after a joint press statement at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on Tuesday.PTI Photo

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin after a joint press statement at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on Tuesday.PTI Photo

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who arrived in India on Monday afternoon, is holding talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi.

Both leaders decided to further “broad-base” their already close defence partnership and intensify cooperation in combating terrorism. They also called on the global community to act tough against terror networks and States harbouring them.

“We recognize that terrorism is a global challenge, knows no boundaries and has extensive links with other forms of organized crime,” said PM Modi.

Here PM Modi made an apparent reference to Pakistan, by saying “Regrettably, one of the countries of its origin and spread is in India’s neighbourhood.”

“We agreed that the international community must act with resolve and determination against terror networks and States that harbour them. Failure to act and silence of speech only encourages the terrorists,” he said.

The two countries also agreed to deepen their cooperation in a variety of areas including trade and investment, agriculture, water resources and cyber-crime.

Noting that Rivlin’s visit has given a “crucial push” to efforts to build new pillars in bilateral ties, PM Modi said both sides noted the strength of the growing defence partnership and agreed on the need to make it “more broad-based” through production and manufacturing partnerships.

India is Israel’s largest buyer of military hardware and the latter has been supplying various weapons systems, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles over the last few years but the transactions have largely remained behind the curtains.

President Rivlin, who is the first Israeli President to visit India in two decades, said his country is ready to “make in India and make with India”.

The visiting President also asserted that nothing can justify terrorism. “We stand together in defending our people and our values,” he said.

The two sides also inked two pacts to strengthen cooperation in agricuture and water resources management sectors.

PM Modi said both sides had agreed that the current trajectory of the Indian economy has opened up many promising opportunities for Israeli companies which can scale up their tie-ups with our India’s flagship schemes like Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, and Smart Cities.

“Indian and Israeli companies can also work together in high-technology manufacturing, and services sectors. Make in India and as President Rivlin told me in our discussion, Make with India can generate jobs and benefit both geographies. Our partnership can generate jobs and benefit both geographies,” he said.

Modi said India was also grateful to Israel for its “clear support” to India’s bid for permanent membership in a reformed UN Security Council.

The meeting also discussed ways to boost people-to-people ties.

“Two-and-a-half decades of our friendship has brought rich dividends for both our nations. It has also strengthened voices of peace, stability and democracy globally. Your visit provides an opportunity to break new ground and shape new contours of our partnership,” Modi said.

In his remarks, Rivlin hoped Modi will visit Israel soon.

There were indications that Modi may visit Tel Aviv in first part of 2017 which will be 25th year of formal diplomatic ties between the two countries. India had established “full” diplomatic relationship with Israel in 1992 though it had recognised the country in 1950.

(With inputs from PTI)