Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on the phone with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of Israel. Firstly, he conveyed his warm wishes for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent assumption of office; and expressed confidence that the India-Israel partnership would continue to flourish; under Prime Minister Netanyahu’s leadership and guidance.
The leaders discussed the potential areas in which India and Israel could expand their cooperation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic; including research and development efforts in the fields of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. They agreed to maintain the ongoing exchanges between expert teams of both countries. Also, they agreed to make the results of such collaboration available for the benefit of humanity.
As per the Press Release by the Ministry of External Affairs; the leaders reviewed other important topics on the bilateral agenda; and agreed that the post-COVID world would create further avenues for mutually beneficial partnerships in many areas. In particular, they evaluated a tremendous scope for expanding the strong India-Israel collaboration further; in areas like health technology, agricultural innovation, defence-cooperation and information technology. Both the leaders decided to remain in regular touch to share assessments; and consult each other on the emerging opportunities and challenges in the changing global scenario.
India’s Relations With Israel
India enjoys warm and firm ties with Israel. India is the largest buyer of Israeli military equipment and Israel is the largest defence supplier to India after Russia. In July 2017, Prime Minister Modi became the first ever Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. During the visit, the countries signed 7 Memorandum of Understandings. They also signed an agreement, upgrading their bilateral relations to a ‘strategic partnership‘. In January 2018, to commemorate 25 years of Indian-Israeli relations, Prime Minister Netanyahu visited India. He was accompanied by a 130-member delegation, the largest that has ever accompanied a visiting Israeli premier. Prime Minister Netanyahu wants to increase exports to India by 25 percent over the three years. Further, Israel is to invest $68.6 million in areas; such as tourism, technology, agriculture and innovation over a period of four years.