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Netanyahu praises 'marriage made in heaven' with India

July 5, 2017

During the first official visit of an Indian prime minister to Israel, the two countries have signed multiple bilateral deals. For decades during the Cold War, New Delhi was a steadfast supporter of the Palestinians.

Jerusalem - Israelischer Premierminister Benjamin Netanyahu und  indischer Premierminister Narendra Modi
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/S. Scheiner

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, signed a raft of bilateral agreements Wednesday, covering everything from agriculture and water to technology. Modi was in the middle of a three-day trip to Israel that was meant to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

"Our goal is to build a relationship that reflects our shared priorities and draws on enduring bonds between our peoples," Modi said at a joint press conference. He said the two had "agreed to do much more together to protect our strategic interests and also cooperate to combat growing radicalization and terrorism, including in cyberspace."

Netanyahu, for his part, called their strengthened ties a "marriage made in heaven."

"I have a feeling that today India and Israel are changing our world and maybe changing parts of the world," he said.

Modi becomes first Indian PM to visit Israel

Modi avoids meetings with Palestinians

The two countries did not establish ties until after the Cold War, after decades of New Delhi standing firmly in support of the Palestinians. However, in recent years the two have developed increasingly closer cooperation on defense. This week's trip marked the first time an Indian leader has made an official visit to Israel.

Aside from meeting with Netanyahu, Modi spent his trip visiting tech firms and talking with leaders from the Indian Jewish community. He also stopped by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, and met Moshe Holtzberg, whose parents were killed in Mumbai in 2008 during a massacre carried out by Islamist militants.

Modi did not have any meetings with Palestinian officials on his schedule, as is customary for foreign dignitaries, though he did meet with President Mahmud Abbas in New Delhi in May.

es/bw (AFP, AP)