Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hosted India’s President Prenab Mukherjee, the first President of the vast South Asian country to make an official visit to the Jewish state on Wednesday, October 14.
During the welcome ceremony at the President’s Residence in the capital, Rivlin commented on the historic visit “Even as a president of a country, as wonderful as India, or Israel, it is not every day that one truly has the chance to make history. But today, we together are making history,” stated the Israeli President.
“For the first time ever, as President of the State of Israel, I have the honor of saying to you, as President of India, ‘Welcome to Israel, welcome to Jerusalem.”
President Mukherjee of India expressed a high level of excitement and eagerness to advance relations with Israel during his visit. “I greatly look forward to my discussions with His Excellency the President of Israel, and other political leaders,” said Mukherjee.
“We will engage on a wide range of issues of shared interest, and my officials and the senior members of my delegation will meet their Israeli counterparts to discuss ways to take forward our bilateral relationship, and explore new avenues of cooperation and partnership.”
President Mukherjee’s remarks indicate that he and many others in India’s government highly value the relationship with Israel. “India attaches high importance to its relationship with Israel, a relationship which has taken great strides in the last few years,” noted the Indian president.
“We are cooperating and collaborating in a range of areas including defense, agriculture, scientific research, and innovation,” continued Mukherjee. “We are also discovering and identifying new areas of partnership with significant potential to be realised.”
President Mukherjee added that both countries also plan to cooperate with one another in tackling a variety of global problems. “We will also take this opportunity to discuss the many global challenges that are two countries face today, including the growing menace of terrorism and extremism, our common concerns about climate change, and the urgent need for reform of global governance infrastructure,” he added.
India and Israel have begun to take immediate cooperative actions following the Indian president’s visit. Israeli Ambassador to India, Daniel Carmon and Eastern Region Secretary of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs Anil Wadwah joined their respective presidents in signing two bilateral agreements; one dealing with the issue of double taxation and another with cultural exchanges.
President Mukherjee also invited President Rivlin to visit India, and noted that he was delighted to receive his positive response.
By Jonathan Benedek, TPS