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Glasgow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Naftali Bennett on Tuesday had their maiden formal meeting here on Tuesday. The latter informed the Indian leader about his popularity in Israel and invited him to join his party.
Prime Minister Modi met Bennett on the sidelines of the COP26 Climate Summit on Tuesday during which they reviewed the bilateral ties besides exchanging views about expanding cooperation in areas of high-technology and innovation.
Modi and Bennett’s maiden formal meeting came after their brief interaction on Monday during the climate conference.
According to a video shared on social media, Bennett told Prime Minister Modi, “You are the most popular person in Israel.”
Replying to the comment, Modi said, “Thank you, thank you.”
Bennett further asked Modi to join his Yamina Party.
“Come and join my party,” Bennett said, as the two leaders laughed and shook hands.
Earlier, recalling their brief meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Modi said that the people of India deeply value the friendship with Israel.
“Glad to have met, yet again, PM @naftalibennett. We had fruitful talks on boosting India-Israel friendship in sectors such as research, innovation and futuristic technologies. These sectors are critical for empowering our youngsters,” Modi tweeted.
Glad to have met, yet again, PM @naftalibennett. We had fruitful talks on boosting India-Israel friendship in sectors such as research, innovation and futuristic technologies. These sectors are critical for empowering our youngsters. pic.twitter.com/AUEENd6xCE
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 2, 2021
“Enhancing friendship with Israel. Prime Ministers @narendramodi and @naftalibennett had a fruitful meeting in Glasgow. Both leaders discussed deepening various avenues of cooperation for the benefit of our citizens, the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.
Enhancing friendship with Israel.
Prime Ministers @narendramodi and @naftalibennett had a fruitful meeting in Glasgow. Both leaders discussed deepening various avenues of cooperation for the benefit of our citizens. pic.twitter.com/QnzdCmgijT
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) November 2, 2021
Prime Minister Bennett described the “deep relationship” between India and Israel as one coming from the heart and not being about interests, He urged Modi to work together to take the bilateral ties to “a whole new level”.
“I want to thank you. You’re the person who restarted the relationship between India and Israel, which is a deep relationship between two unique civilizations the Indian civilization, the Jewish civilization and I know it comes from your heart. It’s not about interests; it’s about a deep conviction that you harbour and we feel it,” Bennett told Modi at the start of the meeting.
“On behalf of all Israeli citizens, we deeply appreciate this whole new approach that will go down in history as something that you brought about. So thank you,” the Israeli premier said as per a communication from his media adviser.
Bennett also cited the “remarkable dynamics” between Indian and Israeli innovators during his days as an entrepreneur which he said helped shape his feelings.
“Indeed, my personal experience, to a great degree, shaped my feelings. As you recall, when I ran a hi-tech company, we merged with an Indian company the two ‘I’s, India and Israel in Manhattan. In the office, there were a bunch of Israelis and Indians, and getting together created a remarkable dynamic of innovation. There’s so much that we can learn from you,” he noted.
Urging to carry forward the deepened cooperation between the two countries that started during his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister vowed to bring the ties together to a new level.
The meeting between Modi and Bennett comes after Jaishankar, during his visit to Israel last month, extended an invitation to the Israeli premier on behalf of Modi to visit India.
According to Israeli media reports, Bennett, who became prime minister in June this year, is likely to visit India next year.
India and Israel elevated their bilateral relations to a strategic partnership during the historic visit of Prime Minister Modi to Israel in July 2017.
Since then, the relationship between the two countries has focused on expanding knowledge-based partnership, which includes collaboration in innovation and research, including boosting the ‘Make in India’ initiative.