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Modi: ‘Israel among India’s most important partners

Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi speaks July 4 at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. (Kobi Richter/TPS)

“India counts Israel as among it’s most important partners,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at Ben Gurion Airport Tuesday afternoon as he arrived for a three-day visit to mark 25 years since the establishment of full diplomatic ties between the countries.

Thanking Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for a warm welcome, Modi said, “It is my singular honor to be the first ever prime minister of India to undertake this groundbreaking visit to Israel.

“My visit celebrates the strength of centuries old links between our societies and based on these bonds our partnership has maintained a strong and sustained upswing since the establishment of full diplomatic relations 25 years ago.”

Modi said Israel was a nation that had “marched on regardless of adversity and converted challenges into opportunity.”

“India applauds your achievement,” he said.

Speaking of his own country, Modi said India was an ancient civilization, but a young country with over 800 million people under the age of 35. Modi said India’s skilled and talented youth were the driving force to propel his vision to transform the country , its industry, its economy, its way of doing business and its interface with the world.

Israel, he said, was central to that vision. “Friends, in order to sustain high growth and development, India counts Israel among its important partners,” Modi said. “The need to rely on science, technology, innovation and higher technical education to overcome our developmental challenges are common to both of us. The domains  also bring together the creative energy and ideas of the highly skilled youth and the entrepreneurs of the two countries.”

Modi noted that in addition to building a partnership for shared economic prosperity, the two countries were also cooperating against common threats such as terrorism and that his trip would be devoted to building “a strong and resilient partnership with Israel.”