Narendra Modi, Benjamin Netanyahu vow to fight terror

It is well-known that while Israel accuses Iran of being the epicentre of terrorism, India's position is that it is Pakistan which is so.

New Delhi: Ministry of External Affairs secretary in charge of economic relations Vijay Gokhale on Monday told reporters that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had agreed to open trade discussions with Israel.

“A delegation from the commerce ministry will actually go next month for discussions on trade,” he said. Bilateral trade has jumped from $200 million in 1992, when the two countries opened diplomatic relations, to $4.16 billion in 2016, largely in favour of Israel.

While both countries “advocated strong measures against terrorists, terror organisations, those who sponsor, encourage or finance terrorism or provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups”, Pakistan was not named in the Joint Statement. It is well-known that while Israel accuses Iran of being the epicentre of terrorism, India’s position is that it is Pakistan which is so.

Asked about it, Gokhale, who will soon take over as the next Foreign Secretary, said, “There is no divergence in the position of the (two) countries (on terrorism). It’s not necessary each time to name countries.”

Netanyahu said: “We are talking about cooperation in defence so that our people are always safe, always secure. ... We remember the horrific savagery in Mumbai. We grit our teeth, we fight back.”

On the Palestine issue, Gokhale said, “Yes, it was discussed. The Israeli side expressed its position, and we made clear our position, both on Jerusalem and on Palestine.” “What the two sides agreed was that our relationship was much larger than any single issue, that we need to look at it holistically. Our relationship is not determined by a single issue.”

Departure from Modi visit statement
On the Palestine issue, the Joint Statement said, “The two Prime Ministers discussed the developments pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process. They reaffirmed their support for an early resumption of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians for arriving at a comprehensive negotiated solution on all outstanding issues, based on mutual recognition and effective security arrangements, for establishing a just and durable peace in the region.”

Nine pacts
The two countries also inked nine pacts in sectors including petroleum, civil aviation, cyber security, space, I&B, solar energy and alternative medicine. An Indian Cultural Centre will also be opened in Israel in 2018.

PM Modi said, “Our discussions were wide-ranging and intensive. They were marked by the desire to do more. Prime Minister, I have a reputation of being impatient in getting results. If I may let out an open secret, I know that so are you. Last year in Tel Aviv, you had expressed the intent to cut down bureaucratic red tape with a machete and forge ahead with speed. Prime Minister, I am happy to tell you that in India, we are well on our way to doing just that. We have imparted our shared impatience to the implementation of our earlier decisions. The results are already visible on the ground.”

Over lunch, the two leaders also listened to some music, with the Israelis enjoying and “recognising” a song ‘Ichak Dana’’ — that was played by a band — from the 1955 Hindi film Shree 420 starring actors Raj Kapoor and Nargis.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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