January 18, 2016 4:03:06 pm
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday said India attaches the highest importance to its ties with Israel as she called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the entire spectrum of the relationship.
Swaraj, who is on her first visit to West Asia as the External Affairs Minister, said she was looking forward to her discussions with the top Israeli leadership.
“India attaches the highest importance to the full development of bilateral ties with Israel. Our bilateral cooperation has grown in a number of areas over the past two decades but the potential of our relations are much more,” she told media along with Netanyahu before their meeting.
“I hope to discuss the entire spectrum of our bilateral relationship,” Swaraj said, adding that she hopes to get an assessment of the situation in the region and identify areas where the two countries can cooperate.
In his welcoming remarks, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that there has been a great flowering of relationship and friendship between the two countries in the recent years.
“I take special pleasure in welcoming you here and sending my regards to my good friend and colleague Prime Minister Modi. The expression of this growing relationship has been in the visit of the (Indian) President, the first ever by an Indian Head of State,” he said.
He said the two countries are intensifying their contacts and cooperation in fields such as science and technology, cyber, defence and agriculture.
“India and Israel are at the cutting edge of so many innovations and by working together we can do a lot more for our people and the world,” he said, adding that Israel admires India and view it as a great friend.
Netanyahu, who has met Modi twice in the past year and a half, has said that “sky is the limit” that can be achieved between the two sides with “limitless” potential.
The Israeli Prime Minister has in the past said that his Indian counterpart has told him that New Delhi needs Tel Aviv to achieve major developmental projects outlined by him.
Swaraj would also meet President Reuven Rivlin, Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Minister of Infrastructure Yuval Shteinitz and deputy Foreign Minister Tsipi Hotovely.
She will be also meeting the Indian community in Israel.
There are four groups of Indian Jewish communities in Israel with a strength of approximately 80,000.
Swaraj’s visit comes barely three months after the historic visit of President Pranab Mukherjee, the first by an Indian Head of State to Israel, and aims at encasing on the goodwill generated by that visit.
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