‘Aapka Swagat Hai Mere Dost’ Netanyahu welcomes PM Modi on ‘groundbreaking’ Israel visit

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(Agencies) NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Israel on Tuesday to a rousing reception at Tel Aviv airport with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu greeting him with the words “Aapka swagat hai mere dost.” Attesting to the shared values and friendship between India and Israel, PM Modi said a strong and resilient partnership between the two countries was the focus of his trip, which he called “groundbreaking”.”It is my singular honour to be the first ever Prime Minister of India to undertake this groundbreaking visit to Israel. This visit celebrates the centuries old links between our societies as well as the establishment of 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel,” PM Modi said at his reception ceremony. The two leaders vowed to give a push to their bilateral relationship in all aspects and jointly deal with common threats like terrorism. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also expressed his admiration for India’s culture, history, democracy and commitment to progress and said the two countries could do even better together.”This is a very significant step in strengthening relations between the two countries. The formula for success is simple, it’s I-squared and T-squared, which equals Indian talent and Israel technology, and equals India-Israel ties for tomorrow,” the Israeli leader said. Echoing a similar sentiment, PM Modi said Israel had been a constant companion in India’s development story and going forward, the two nations must deepen cooperation in a range of areas to further cement their ties.”In our path of sustained high growth, India counts Israel among its important partners. We need to rely on science, technology and education to bring together the creative energies of the skilled youth and entrepreneurs of both countries,” he said.The much talked about amity between PM Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu+ was on full display, as the latter received the Indian leader+ at the Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv. Extending this honour, which had so far been accorded only to the Pope and the president of the United States, is symbolic of the significance attached to the first ever visit by an Indian premier to Israel.