Jerusalem: Describing India as the "greatest
democracy on earth", Israel has said it wants New Delhi to
become a permanent member of the expanded United Nations
Welcoming External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, the
first Indian foreign minister to arrive in Israel in over a
decade, President Shimon Peres said Tel Aviv was following New
Delhi with "great care and interest".
"For us India is first of all a culture. Then it is for
us the greatest democracy on earth and then the unbelievable
achievement of overcoming poverty without becoming poor in
freedom," he said Monday night.
"I wish that India would become a permanent member of the
Security Council," Peres said, backing India`s bid to become a
permanent member of the UN`s top body.
In his address, Peres called Mahatma Gandhi a "prophet"
and former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru a "king".
"India was fortunate that it had two great and
unforgettable leaders - one was a prophet and the other one
was a king. The combination of Gandhi and Nehru is the most
unusual," he said.
Peres, who has visited India twice since diplomatic ties
between the two countries was set 20 years ago, said: "We are
following India with great care and interest, not just in the
political sense but being a citizen of the world, we think
that without India and China hunger would govern the world."
Krishna complimented back on by calling Peres "a
statesman of calibre". He credited Israel for being an
inspiration for India becoming self-sufficient in food
The minister recalled Peres` visit to India in 1992 and
also in 2002 and credited him for setting up the agenda for
strengthening the relations between the two countries.
"I think it`s about time for the leadership of both the
countries to set the agenda for the coming decade. So I think
it is in that spirit that I have come here," he said.
Talking about the wars that Israel has fought, reference
of which was made by Peres first in his address, Krishna said
Israel has emerged stronger.
"I think it was those wars that have strengthened your
nation. I think you have emerged as a stronger nation after
every war. I think the entire world looks to you with great
respect," Krishna said.
The minister said he was very happy that relationship
between India and Israel has spread to so many areas.
"We look forward to continued bilateral relationship...
politically there are no problems as such. Now I think the
economic content has to become more assertive and the economic
content has to keep growing. I think the relationship is going
on very healthy," Krishna said.
Krishna will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
on Tuesday, besides holding talks with Deputy Prime Minister and
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Cooperation in defence, security, agriculture and science
and technology are expected to figure prominently in the
discussions amid India`s keenness to widen the scope of
partnership in the field of defence, the sources said.
They said from a buyer-seller relationship, both sides
are looking at expanding their relations.
Anti-terror cooperation is also expected to figure in the
discussions, against the backdrop of growth in this aspect of
the relationship since the Mumbai 2008 attacks in which six
Israeli nationals were killed.