Mukherjee visit historic, India-Israel ties win-win for both: Netanyahu

Jerusalem, Oct 14 (IANS) Describing President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit here as historic, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said the sky was the limit for collaborations between the two countries and promised India any technology for its development.

Addressing the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, after Mukherjee’s 15-minute speech, Netanyahu also spoke about terrorism. He said both Israel and India faced such deplorable acts that target innocent people.

In the address peppered with anecdotes and puns, the Israeli premier also praised the technical talent of the people of the two countries.

“In Silicon Valley, two languages are spoken — Hebrew and Hindi. Sometimes, you also hear English,” he said, in a reference to how the highly-qualified engineers have come to dominate what has become a citadel of high technology.

The Indian president — who had arrived here on Wednesday in what is the first visit by an Indian head of state or government to Israel — also had his share of anecdotes to portray how the people of the two countries stood connected.

“I am told that Hebrew is spoken in some villages in northern India, whose populations also enjoy Humus,” Mukherjee said, referring to the popular accompaniment in this part of the world, made of chickpea.

“The Jews in Mumbai have left their mark on the architectural heritage of the city, its banking world, its literary scene and even Bollywood.”

Netanyahu, on his part, also sought to send the message about how well he was connected with the Indian leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“I talk to Modi quite often. When we met the last time he told me ‘I see a paragon of paternity between our two nations’.”

Regarding President Mukherjee’s visit, the Israeli premier said: “This is historic — the first by an Indian head of state. We welcome you to the only democracy in the Middle East. Our two countries have stayed as examples for democracies for seven decades.”

Netanyahu also said he was truly amazed by the changes in India, which were removing millions of its people out of poverty and said the sky was the limit for cooperation between the two countries.

“On our part, we would be delighted to provide our technologies to India.”

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