Calling the relationship between India and Israel “truly special”, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Thursday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel in 2017 was a “goosebump moment” for him.
Mr Jaishankar made the remarks while addressing the gathering here for the celebration of 74 years of independence of Israel.
“When I look back at our relationship, in the last several years that I have been associated with, for me the goosebumps moment in a way was at Tel Aviv when the PM visited Israel in July 2017, first Indian PM to visit Israel. And, since then our relationship has really taken off,” the EAM said.
Mr Jaishankar said that both the countries are focussing on expanding the knowledge-based relationship which includes cooperation in innovation and research. He further said that Israel is an integral part of the ‘Make in India’ initiatives.
Talking about the future prospects, Mr Jaishankar mentioned, “As I see the future of this relationship for me one of the most encouraging signs is intellectual, students in huge numbers are going from here to there, research project we are doing.”
Mr Jaishankar also touched upon the aspect of the new Quad consisting of India, Israel, UAE, and the US, where he hoped this group can play an important role in expanding economic cooperation in that region.
Israel’s envoy to India, Sri Lanka and Bhutan Naor Gilon appreciated Jaishnakar’s presence on the occasion of Israel’s 74th Independence Day, and also on 30 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel.
“I’ve to quote our Guest of Honour who during his visit to Israel last October said that relations between us didn’t start 30 years ago. It’s a connection between very old civilizations which is probably the basis for very healthy bilateral relations, the two modern countries are having,” Gilon said in his speech.
“This occasion is particularly special for us as we’re celebrating 30 years of our full diplomatic relations between India and Israel. We’re also celebrating 75 years of our own independence and these significant milestones help us together to look at horizons of our expanding relationships,” he added.
Mr Jaishankar mentioned the contributions of the Jewish community in India in various fields in his address and also appreciated Israel’s role in the ‘Make in India’ initiatives.
“Focus is on knowledge-based relationship and Israel is an important partner in ‘Make in India’ relationship,” EAM highlighted.