The relations between India and Israel have evolved and reached such a “high level of comfort” that it “has gone beyond personalities,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said.
Jaishankar, who was in Israel this week on his maiden visit to the country as External Affairs Minister, made the comments during an interview with a local TV Channel here.
“I think we have as countries, as polities, as societies, reached a high level of comfort. So in a sense it is a proof of the success of everybody who has contributed to that change. That the relationship has gone beyond personalities in a way,” Jaishankar was heard saying in a promo clip released by Channel 12.
However, he is also heard acknowledging the important role played by such actors saying, “And we should be appreciative of personalities that make that happen”.
“So I am here to interact directly with the new government in Israel,” he says, probably in the context of how Indo-Israel relations would be impacted after former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was seen as close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been unseated in Israel.
India and Israel elevated bilateral relations to a strategic partnership during the historic visit of Prime Minister Modi to Israel in July 2017.
Since then, the relationship between the two countries has focused on expanding knowledge-based partnership, which includes collaboration in innovation and research, including boosting the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
The Israeli media was abuzz with the news that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has been invited by Modi through Jaishankar for a visit to India, and it is likely to happen next year.
The invitation has been interpreted here as the Government of India’s comfort in working with the new leadership in Israel.
One of the main elements of former prime minister Netanyahu’s campaign during the four elections in nearly two years, before he lost power in June this year, centered around his personal chemistry with the world leaders.
Netanyahu’s Likud party headquarters’ walls once carried pictures of him with Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Modi on three different sides touting his closeness with these leaders.
The Likud party tried to hard sell his image as the “tallest leader” whose global image could not be managed by anybody else, hence the one who could protect Israel’s interests the best at the global stage.
A picture of Modi and Netanyahu entering the sea barefoot during the latter’s visit to Israel in July 2017 is etched in public memory in both India and Israel.
The Channel 12 interview will be broadcast in its entirety on Saturday.
Jaishankar on Thursday concluded his five-day visit to Israel during which he along with his counterparts from the US, the UAE and Israel established a quadrilateral forum between the four countries to boost economic cooperation building upon each other’s capabilities, knowledge and experience.
India and Israel have also agreed to resume negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) from next month with an aim to conclude the long-pending deal by next June. Israel joined the India spearheaded International Solar Alliance; and the two sides also signed an agreement on mutual COVID vaccine certificate recognition to ease travel.
Jaishankar also paid a visit to the Indian soldiers participating in the Blue Flag drill with Air Forces of seven other nations, including Israel.Internet Explorer Channel Network