"We have waited for 70 years for you", Benjamin Netanyahu greeted Narendra Modi, whose aircraft landed here this afternoon, creating history, being the first ever Indian prime minister to visit Israel.
Stating that India-Israel ties have seen rapid growth since the establishment of full diplomatic relations, Modi said: "Common objectives of economic prosperity, strong technology and innovation ties and the need to secure our societies define the space for convergent action between us".
Tel Aviv: Laying the foundation of a new chapter in relations with Israel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his "ground-breaking" visit on Tuesday, receiving an extraordinary welcome by the Jewish nation.
During the Cold War, India did not have open relations with Israel, leaning heavily in favour of the Palestinians.
During the drive from Ben Gurion airport to Jerusalem, Netanyahu escorted Modi to the Danzinger flower farm in Mishmar Hashiva, a showcase for agro-technology and one of Israel's leading floriculture firms, where a new fast-growing chrysanthemum flower was named after the Indian premier. "And today that is completely abandoned", said Karat. The day when your Prime Minister, and my friend, Bibi, lost his older brother Yoni, while saving the lives of so many Israeli hostages.
Modi was received at the airport by his Israel counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior ministers. "It is truly a historic visit", he said, adding, "We love India and we view you as kindred spirits in our journey".More news: U.S. oil pipeline to Mexico will go right under the wall
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"Over coming decades, we want to frame a relationship that transforms the landscape of our economic engagement", the Prime Minister said. He has broken the shackles that bound the #Indian leadership and has embarked on the first visit to Israel. "It is so natural that we can ask what took so long for them to blossom".
India has traditionally voiced its support for Palestinian statehood, long shunning ties with Israel. To broker peace with the Arab world, the mandarins at the South Block deliberately confused India's political executive to distance itself from stepping into the borders of the landlocked Israel.
Noting that India is an old civilisation but a young nation, Modi said, "We have a talented and skilled youth, who are our driving force". Modi will meet President Reuven Ruvi Rivlin and address the CEOs of the two countries as well as the Indian diaspora on Wednesday.
Modi will be in Israel till July 6 before travelling to Hamburg in Germany to attend the G-20 Summit.
PM Modi added, "We must resolutely oppose evils of terrorism, radicalism and violence".