Israel hails India ties in `difficult period`

Last Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 - 22:31

London: Israel has hailed its warm diplomatic ties with India, saying the two sides have made great strides forward as economic partners, working together in everything from alternative technology to space and agriculture.

"We have a warm diplomatic relationship between Israel and India, which since the establishment of formal ties in 1992 has shown the fruits of economic cooperation and cultural exchange. We are now trying to also foster tri-lateral British, Israeli and Indian, economic ties," Israeli deputy ambassador to the UK, Eitan Na`eh, said last evening.

Addressing a gathering of the Indian Jewish Association in London, he said that Jews have lived in India over 2,000 years and have never been discriminated against.

"This is something unparalleled in Jewish history."

Elaborating further on the relationship, he said, "In recent years, Israel and India have made great strides forward as economic partners, working together in everything from alternative technology to space exploration and of course agriculture, with the Indo-Israeli agricultural cooperation project set to establish 30 centres of agricultural excellence across 30 states in India during the coming decade."

"The growing exchange of ideas and cultures between Israel and India, between Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs is what drives Israel forward to the peaceful future we have been dreaming of for 66 years with our neighbours. May we see it speedily in our times."

Talking about the new round of violence between Israel and Palestinians that has killed over 850, he said, "We want peace in our region to look like ? the amazing ties that the Indian Jewish Association has fostered between Indians and Jews, two immigrant communities in this country, but also about the harmonious and peaceful existence that Jews have always enjoyed in India."

"We hope that Hamas will soon agree to a ceasefire and also that we can soon return to the negotiating table to continue working towards an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel and have peace with it," he added.

He was speaking against the backdrop of British foreign secretary Philip Hammond`s warning that the West was "losing sympathy" with Israel over civilian casualties in Gaza.

Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Ranjan Mathai, who has also served as Indian ambassador in Israel in the past, highlighted the bond of democracy between the two countries.

"What is most significant for both our communities is that we are absolutely committed to democracy and that is what gives us the greatest strength and ability to work together.

"These indeed are sombre times but there is a space for countries like ours to work together and make the world a better place; to produce solutions that really matter to people. India maintains a very, very strong relationship with Israel, not only in the bilateral sense but in the global arena," Mathai said.

PTI

First Published: Friday, July 25, 2014 - 22:31

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