Rivlin travels to India, meets with Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi; Leaders meeting centered on cooperation in areas of water technology, agriculture, education, trade and security; Meeting falls ahead of 25 years of restored relations
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin traveled to India Tuesday to meet with Indian senior officials including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee, as part of his six-day visit to the region. Rivlin’s tour is centered on strengthening Indian-Israeli relations, particularly in the areas of trade, security and cooperation. His visit to India is the first by an Israeli president since 1996.
Rivlin and Israel’s Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon met with Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi, their meeting centered on increasing development in the areas of agriculture and water technologies, as well as increased cooperation in the areas of academia, trade and innovation.
Following their meeting, Rivlin and Modi held a press conference, Rivlin addressing the press stating “We [India and Israel] have growing cooperation; in agriculture, in water, in solar power, in all of what you call the four-colored revolution, and many more areas as well. As we mark 25 years of our diplomatic relations, this is not just a partnership that we talk about. This is a partnership which is making a difference for Israelis and Indians in the water we drink, in the food we eat, in the technology we use, and many important areas of our lives. Prime Minister, you have called on the world, to ‘Make in India’. I am here to say: Israel is ready to answer this call. Israel is ready to ‘Make in India’, and Make with India.”
Modi spoke after Rivlin, centering on India-Israel relations, particularly ahead of both nation’s celebration 25 years of restored diplomatic relations. He started by stating “I am honored to welcome President Reuven Rivlin, and distinguished members of his delegation to India. President Rivlin is on his first ever visit to India. We are delighted to receive him on this special occasion. Excellency, your visit will provide crucial push to our efforts to build new pillars in our partnership. It will also carry forward the momentum generated by the first ever visit of President of India to Israel last year. Next year, both countries will be celebrating 25 years of the establishment of full diplomatic relations. As we approach this big milestone, we are both committed to advance our engagement on several fronts and build on convergences and commonalities in our interests and concerns on regional and global issues.”
He spoke of the “multi-dimensional and wide-ranging” engagement between Israel and India, particular as “We are partnering in enhancing agricultural productivity and efficiency; boosting research and innovation linkages; employing applications of science and technology for the benefit of our societies; forging strong trade links and investment ties; building defense ties to secure our people; and enhancing people to people ties through greater cultural and tourism linkages; promoting educational exchanges. The growing number of Indian students, going to study in Israel and vice versa can be an important bridge in our bilateral partnership.”
Modi visited Israel in February of 2016, his visit centered on increasing relations in the areas of security, India confirming during the visit an expected $3 billion arms deal with the Jewish State. The deal has been under negotiations between India with Israel’s Ministry of Defense along with Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael since 2014.
Modi spoke in detail of Israel’s expertise in water treatment and technologies, as well as in agriculture, stating “We are familiar with Israel’s advances in agriculture, and its expertise in micro-irrigation in drought-prone areas and water management. We have identified water management and conservation, and collaboration in scientific research and development as two areas of priority engagement. We both agreed that the current trajectory of the Indian economy opens up many promising opportunities for Israeli companies. Our economic initiatives and programs, and emphasis on innovation, research and technological development match well with Israel’s strengths and capacities… Indian and Israeli companies can also work together in high-technology manufacturing, and services sectors,” Modi emphasizing that boosting such relations would have for creating jobs for Indians.
Modi also spoke of the threat of terrorism and global extremism, addressing threats from Pakistan. He stated that the Indian people “are constantly threatened by forces of terrorism and extremism. We recognize that terrorism is a global challenge, knows no boundaries and has extensive links with other forms of organized crime. Regrettably, one of the countries of its origin and spread is in India’s neighborhood. We agreed that the international community must act with resolve and determination against terror networks and States that harbor them.”
He warned that “Failure to act and silence of speech only encourages the terrorists. We agreed to intensify our cooperation to combat the forces of extremism and radicalization that threaten all peace-loving nations. We also prioritized practical and specific engagement such as in the cyber domain. We noted the strength of our growing defense partnership. And, agreed on the need to make it more broad-based through production and manufacturing partnerships. India is also grateful to Israel for its clear support to India’s permanent candidature in a reformed UN Security Council.”
Ending his speech, he spoke of India and Israel as “fellow democracies” stating that “our people are our biggest strength and the biggest beneficiaries of a strong India-Israel partnership”. He spoke of India’s Jewish community of 2000-years that represent “a thriving link to this past”. He added, “Today, it is a vital part of our composite cultural mosaic that continues to thrive in their traditions. We are proud of the Jewish community in India. 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.”