Modi, Netanyahu to act against terror
India and Israel on Wednesday elevated their ties to the strategic partnership level, vowing to do "much more together" to combat growing radicalisation and terrorism while pitching for strong action against those financing and providing sanctuaries to terror groups.
The issue of terror and "strategic threats" along with various other topics like cooperation in defence and security, water, agriculture, space and West Asia figured prominently in the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu here today.
After the wide-ranging talks, the two sides signed seven pacts covering areas like innovation, water conservation, agriculture and space.
During the second of his three-day visit, Modi also met Moshe Holtzberg, the Israeli child who narrowly escaped death in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
"This is a good day... You and I can change the world...
Our relationship is made in heaven and we are doing the implementation part," Netanyahu said with Modi standing by his side during a joint media appearance.
The Israeli prime minister, who is devoting full time to Modi during his three-day visit and joining him at all his engagements, said the two countries together "can make a big difference" to the world.
Modi, while describing his stay in Israel so far as "productive" and "memorable", said, "Our goal is to build a relationship that reflects our shared priorities and draws on enduring bonds between our peoples.
The first Indian prime minister to visit Israel said both the countries live in "complex geographies" and are aware of "strategic threats" to regional peace and stability.
"India has suffered first-hand the violence and hatred spread by terror. So has Israel," he said, adding the two leaders had "agreed to do much more together to protect our strategic interests and also cooperate to combat growing radicalization and terrorism, including in cyberspace."
Netanyahu said the two countries need to cooperate in the field of counter-terrorism as he described 26/11 as a "horrible terrorist attack".
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, while briefing the media on the talks later, said the two countries had decided to elevate their relationship to the strategic partnership, which gives a special dimension to the ties.
A joint statement issued after the talks said: "strong measures should be taken against terrorists, terror organisations, their networks and all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism, or provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups."
Though nobody was named in this context, the Indian side saw this as a reference to Pakistan.
"There are a lot of common challenges, including cyber security," the foreign secretary said, adding, "There is an ongoing dialogue on homeland security (between India and Israel). This is expected to be strengthened."
Jaishankar said Modi and Netanyahu also discussed visa liberalisation.
India invited Israel to be a partner country in the annual Technology Summit. Modi also invited Netanyahu and his family to pay a visit to India.