In the first visit by an Israeli Prime Minister to India in 15 years, Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week signed nine agreements covering cooperation in cyber security, space, and oil and gas cooperation.
PM Netanyahu, who was accompanied by a 130-member delegation – the largest ever for an Israeli foreign visit, wants to increase exports to India by 25% over the next three years.
Israel has given initial approval for Indian energy companies to explore oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean, in the first such move by Indian firms in the region.
After signing the deals, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “We have had diplomatic relations for 25 years, but something different is happening now”. The two leaders hailed the “dawn of a new era” in relations.
Prime Minister Modi called on “more and more Israeli people, businesses and companies to come and work in India”.
Speaking in Delhi, Netanyahu that “India and Israel are living proof not only that democracy works but they demonstrate something deeper – the intrinsic value of freedom which I believe is the intrinsic value of life. India stands out in the community of nations because over 2,000 years the Jews of India have never experienced anti-Semitism as our people experienced in so many other lands. This is a tribute to your civilisation, to your tolerance, to your humanity”.
Since relations were established between the two countries in 1992, bilateral trade between Israel and India grew from £140 million to £3.1 billion in 2016.