The bonhomie between Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Netanyahu has been unprecedented. There has been a sense of informality between the two leaders that is almost never seen between two heads of state.
After the one-on-one meet between the two leaders and the delegation level meet, the two leaders came out for a joint statement. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his address spoke something that made every Indian swell with pride.
He referred to India and Israelas ‘sister democracies’ yesterday, and today he said, “This is a marriage made in heaven, but we are implementing it here on earth.” This drew a hearty laugh from Prime Minister Modi and a round of applause from the audience of media-persons and diplomats.
Prime Minister Modi said in his address, “Our talks focused on not just areas of bilateral opportunities but also how our cooperation can help the cause of global peace and stability. We agreed that efficiency of water and resource use; water conservation and its purification; productivity increases in agriculture are key areas in deepening our bilateral cooperation.”
The meetings between the two sides has brought about substantial results. Seven MOUs were signed between India and Israel including a bilateral Technology Innovation Fund worth $40 million for research in industrial development. Cooperation in the field of space, water and agriculture has been at the forefront of the meeting.
Talks on terror also featured prominently in the address of both the leaders. Prime Minister Modi had this to say on terrorism: “India has suffered first-hand the violence and hatred spread by terror, so has Israel. PM Netanyahu and I have agreed to do much more together to protect our strategic interests and also cooperate to fight growing radicalization.”
Prime Minister Modi has shattered the hesitance that had overshadowed India-Israel relations for decades. Also, until now defence was the only major department where the two nations cooperated. This visit has shifted attention to other important aspects such as agriculture and water preservation. Overall, this trip has been immensely successful as far as both tangibles and intangibles are concerned.