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Remarks by External Affairs Minister at Indian Community Reception in Tel Aviv (January 18, 2016)

January 18, 2016

Excellencies,
Distinguished guests, and
My fellow Indians!


I extend my warm greetings and best wishes for the New Year 2016 to the Indian expatriate community, the Indian Jewish community and the friends of India gathered here today.

I congratulate the Indian caregivers who are performing very commendable service far away from their homes and families.

I also convey my good wishes to the Indian men serving in the UN Disengagement Observer Force.

India has always been an important actor in the United Nations and we will continue our role.

My warm wishes to the Indian diamond community who have represented us from before we normalised our relations.

I know that there are different communities from India represented here – Indian students, the sisters of Nazareth, the Ahmadiyas.

I wish all of you the very best.

I am very happy to be here in Israel.

I served as the Chairman of the India-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group for three years during which I also had the pleasure of visiting Israel.

I am a personal advocate of strong ties between India and Israel; so I am very happy to see that our relations are progressing so well in all fields of our engagement.

We have walked a long distance together in the short time since the full establishment of diplomatic ties in 1992.

We have developed close cooperation in critical areas such as agriculture and defence. Indian farmers and soldiers know Israel well because of its innovative technologies.

I am happy that we are expanding cooperation to new areas such as homeland security, innovation, education and science and technology.

Our interactions at the political level are also increasing. President of India made a historic state visit to Israel in October last year. This first ever visit by the President of India gave a substantial boost to our bilateral relationship.

Next year will mark the 25th anniversary of the full establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries.

We should work towards a new vision of our important partnership, which should reflect our close friendship and harness fully the potential of our two knowledge economies.

We should also create conditions that stimulate the flow of knowledge in both directions.

Our scientists and engineers can meet to address challenges such as climate change and a second green revolution.

They can explore together the frontiers of space technology or robotics science.

Our students should collaborate in scientific research.

Our entrepreneurs should build start-ups together.

Friends,

India and Israel are among the most vibrant democracies in the world.

Yet we do not know enough about how each other’s societies work.

So we need many more exchanges between our civil societies, parliamentarians, opinion makers and women.

I am aware that women have excelled in all spheres of public life in Israel, including in the defence forces.

In India too, the number of women entering the civil services and the corporate world is rising. We should look at various avenues to increase contacts between women from all walks of life of our countries.

The economic relationship is the key to developing our bilateral ties.

We should move from a trade based relationship to one that is based on investment, manufacturing and services.

As you know Make in India is a priority of our Government. Our flagship schemes of ‘Clean Ganga’, ‘Smart Cities’ or ‘Digital India’ are all areas of Israeli expertise.

We encourage you to look beyond trade to build long term stakes in the Indian economy through investment and joint development of products and services.

I look at the future with optimism and to quote your Prime Minister ‘sky is the limit' for ties between India and Israel.

I had very good meetings with the President and Prime Minister of Israel and other leaders today. All of them expressed to me the importance they attach to Israel’s relations with India, as a friend and partner.

I wish to assure you that these feelings are reciprocated by the Government and people of India.

We attach high priority to India’s relations with Israel. India is very proud of its large diaspora.

Wherever Indians go they have become model citizens in their adopted countries.

They are hard working, sincere and community-minded. They are the most preferred expatriate community in the Gulf region.

The Indian Jewish community in Israel is no different and it always pleases me to see how well they have done here.

I was told that the Jewish community in Mumbai is growing. Please remember that India has always offered the Jewish people a safe and secure home for many centuries.

I know that for the past few years all of you have come together to celebrate the National Convention of all Indian Jews in Israel.

I hope you will be able to carry on this wonderful initiative in the years ahead.

We would like to see more and more Indian Jews becoming active catalysts in building ties between India and Israel.

Dear Friends,

Before I conclude I would like to thank the friendly people and Government of Israel for welcoming Indians.

As our President said during his visit to Israel, we are two ancient civilizations, much like the two branches of a tree.

We have always viewed Israel as an important regional country and share the belief that our partnership will be strengthened further in future.

I once again take this opportunity to express my deep sense of appreciation for your contribution to our motherland.

I wish each and every one of you a very successful and prosperous future.

Thank you. Jai Hind!

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