Israel, India sign several agreements during Modi's visit

AP News
Posted: Jul 05, 2017 3:30 PM
Israel, India sign several agreements during Modi's visit

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel and India signed several agreements on cooperation in the fields of technology, water and agriculture Wednesday, the second day of a landmark visit by the Indian prime minister to the Jewish state.

The cooperation marks a "marriage made in heaven," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking alongside his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi.

The agreements are the centerpiece of Modi's three-day visit, which began Tuesday, to celebrate the 25 years of diplomatic relations and bring them even closer. The two leaders also said they discussed counterterrorism and cybersecurity cooperation between the two states.

"Our goal is to build a relationship that reflects our shared priorities and draws on enduring bonds between our peoples," Modi said at the joint press conference.

During the Cold War, India didn't have open relations with Israel, leaning heavily in favor of the Palestinians. But over the past quarter century, the countries have developed close ties in high-tech and defense.

Apart from meetings with Netanyahu, Modi will hold talks with tech companies and the local community of Indian Jews. He also said Wednesday he would pay respects to Indian soldiers buried in Haifa who died fighting in the British Army during World War I.

The packed schedule also included a visit Tuesday to Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, but no meetings with Palestinian officials have been planned.

Modi also met Wednesday with Moshe Holtzberg, a boy whose parents were killed in a 2008 massacre in Mumbai carried out by Muslim militants. Holtzberg's parents were emissaries of the Chabad movement living in Mumbai at the time.

Rabbi Yisroel Kozlovsky, co-director of the Mumbai Chabad, said he was glad Modi "recognized the sacrifice" of Holtzberg's parents, describing them as an "exceptional couple" that worked to establish Chabad-Lubavitch in Mumbai.