As India and Israel mark 30 years of full diplomatic relations, the Masada Fortress was lit up with the flags of both countries. Visuals of the structure,a symbol of Jewish heroism, was shared online by Naor Gilon, the Ambassador of Israel to India.
In a tweet, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, “Today, we celebrate 30 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and India. We celebrate a strong partnership, An incredibly deep friendship, and optimism for the future!”
Tagging his “friend” PM Modi he added in Hindi, “Together we will continue to achieve more remarkable achievements”.
Meanwhile, in a video message, PM Modi had said, “Today, when the world is witnessing important changes, the importance of India-Israel relations has increased even more. This is the time for new milestones…India is celebrating the 75th anniversary of Independence this year, Israel will celebrate its 75th independence anniversary next year…and both countries are celebrating the 30th year of the establishment of diplomatic relations today.”
The Teen Murti Haifa Chowk in Delhi and the Gateway of India in Mumbai was also lit up in Indian, Israeli colours last night. Earlier this week External Affairs Minister S.Jaishankar and his counterpart had penned op-eds in an Israeli and an Indian newspaper emphasising the “friendship and trust” between the two nations.
The occasion however comes amid a scathing attack from Opposition leaders over a 2017 defence deal worth $2 billion. According to a recent New York Times report, India bought Pegasus spyware from Israel at the time.
In July 2017, Narendra Modi, who won office on a platform of Hindu nationalism, became the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel. For decades, India had maintained a policy of what it called ‘commitment to the Palestinian cause’, and relations with Israel were frosty.