Jerusalem: Israel President Reuven Rivlin has congratulated India on its 74th Independence Day in a video message, saying “may the deep friendship and partnership between our nations and people continue to grow and flourish”.
He said that Israel and India are two ancient nations with young states. Their deep friendship is based on the shared values of democracy and freedom and shared commitment to innovation, education and development.
“In the name of the state and people of Israel, I send our warmest wishes to President Shri Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and the people of India on your 74th Independence Day. As we say in Hebrew ‘Mazal Tov’ (congratulations). Good luck”, he said.
Rivlin also recalled the “wonderful reception” he and his late wife Nechama received in India during their 2016 visit.
“The cooperation between the countries is growing in so many fields and right now our best minds are working together to fight the coronavirus pandemic. We deeply appreciate the aid India sent us at the start of the pandemic and today Israel is sending advanced medical technology to you – to India.
“Our cooperation will bring great benefits to the people of India, the people of Israel and to the entire world,” he said.
India had sent a five-tonne consignment of medicines, including anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, and other medical equipment in what Israeli media then reported was done at the personal request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau while India was preserving its stock for local use.
Israel last month sent ventilators, making an exception, as a gift to India in a reciprocal move thanking New Delhi for its timely help.
“Once again congratulations India. May the deep friendship and partnership between our nations and people continue to grow and flourish for many, many more years to come. Happy Independence Day India. May God bless India,” Rivlin concluded.
Netanyahu, in a tweet on the eve of Independence Day, congratulated his Indian counterpart Modi and the people of India, saying “you have so much to be proud of”.
“Swatantra Diwas ki haardik shubhkamnayen,” he tweeted in Hindi. The tweet also carried a photo of Modi and Netanyahu.
Israel Defence Forces (IDF) also posted a video with soldiers from all over the country, including some from the Indian Jewish community of Bene Israel, congratulating on the Independence Day saying, Jai Hind.
“Our soldiers wish a very happy #IndiaIndependenceDay to all of our friends in India!” the IDF wrote on Twitter.
“Swatantra Diwas ki haardik shubhkamnayen,” it added.
The Indian mission in Israel live streamed the Independence Day celebrations on its official Facebook page in view of COVID-19 restrictions.
Ambassador Sanjeev Singla hoisted the national flag and read out the President’s address to the nation.
“The strategic relationship between India and Israel is in a qualitatively different trajectory since the historic visit of Prime Minister Nerandra Modi to Israel three years ago in July 2017 and the visit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to India in January 2018.
“As directed by the two Prime Ministers, the two countries are moving ahead across the entire gamut of relationships ranging from trade and innovation to education and culture,” Singla said, touching upon the bilateral relations.
Highlighting the collaboration in the field of Science and technology and creation of a USD 40-million research and development fund to boost the joint innovation projects, the Indian envoy also mentioned that there is an ongoing discussion around a limited preferential trade agreement in goods and in a bilateral investment treaty.
Applauding the role of the Indian Jewish community in strengthening bilateral ties, Singla said that the mission has tried to keep in direct touch with them even during the pandemic by taking consular services across the country, to their doorsteps, and its resolve has been further strengthened by the overwhelming response from the community.
In efforts to promote people-to-people contact, the Indian ambassador pointed out at the opening of an Indian Cultural Centre in Tel Aviv, the direct Air India flights that are a “game changer” in promoting relations on the ground and the increasing number of Indian students in Israel, which is probably the largest community of overseas student community in the country.
The celebrations included an Indian classical dance ensemble by Trikudhum, comprising Israeli artistes Ayala Lev on Kathak, Dinoor Aharonson on Odissi and Yael Tal Notea on Kuchipudi.
The Indian embassy had also organised an essay competition on “India-Israel relations: A Knowledge and Innovation Based Partnership”.