Visit of Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu is very important in the context of growing ties between Israel and India. Israel is 3rd largest defence equipment supplier for India after Russia and United States.
In an exclusive interview with Times Now, Benjamin Netanyahu supported India in many ways and praise PM Narendra Modi for his work to make India economically better and strategically strong. Netanyahu said, “Well, let’s say this, we have some understanding and I don’t think I have to add beyond that,” before adding that the Indo-Israeli partnership is not directed against any specific country.
“We (Israel) are not enemies of Pakistan and Pakistan should not be our enemy either,” he said.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country and India “have some understanding” should India decide to unilaterally carry out combative action across the Line of Control against UN-designated terrorists, a statement that is indicative of an endorsement of India’s right to defend itself.
Asked about the Palestine issue, he said, “Israel does not claim to be a perfect country. I don’t know any country which is without problems. But, we extend our hands in peace to our neighbhours. It is unfortunate that at least on the Palestinian side, we haven’t seen a reciprocal response.” He also claimed, “Israel is no longer viewed by most Arab countries as an enemy, but as an indispensible ally in their battle against radicalism.”
He also described India-Israel ties as a ‘partnership of civilizations and of democracies.’ Netanyahu said, “I was in one of the centres of excellence in Gujarat, where Israeli agricultural know-how is being transmitted to Indian farmers. Five farmers told me growing vegetables had helped increase their income four-five-fold. I said, ‘this is tremendous’. If we can have that multiplied for all, it means we just raised the living standard of a massive number of Indians.”
Link of Full Interview with Benjamin Netanyahu at Times Now with full is here :
Some part of the interview exclusive from times now is here:
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR: Yes. I have been reading up a large number of commentators in the Israeli press and they referred to this as the Bibi Doctrine. They have said that Netanyahu wants to offer to other nations of the world the best that Israel can offer. So, where does India fit into this equation?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Smack at the centre of it. First of all, I have to tell it is not merely utilitarian. It is in many ways, interest areas and I am quite open about them. The fact that we can assist Indian agriculture in high tech…By the way, I met a 14-year-old Indian boy in another place that we visited in Gujarat. It was high-tech ventures centre, iCreate, that Prime Minister Modi inaugurated, I was deeply moved and deeply honoured, because we share Israeli technology. This 14-year-old showed me a drone that went up in the sky and identifies land mines, just relieving a lot of agony and misery from a lot of people. This kind of cooperation that we have, that is, technology on the one side and agriculture on the other, is very good for every aspect of life- for water, for agriculture, for security, for health, you name it. So, this has tangible benefits. But I don’t just see as securing for us [but] the corporations of India and the markers of India, and of course the partnership of civilizations. A partnership of two democracies.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR: There are many here. I will be specific about who has said that look this relationship on moral grounds, we have problems with it. Because, you know, there is the question of Israel as an occupying power in Palestine. These reservations constantly crop up. You were the Prime Minister in 1996 and you have come 22 years to the day when Prime Minister Netanyahu can come out and say ‘Marriage made in Heaven’. Where is that constituency? How do you address these concerns?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: You know, Israel does not claim to be a perfect country. I don’t know what is a perfect country. I don’t know any country which is without problems. But, we extend our hands in peace to our neighbhours. It is unfortunate that at least on the Palestinian side, we haven’t seen a reciprocal response.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR: I can understand where you are coming from because India has the same problem with Pakistan.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Let me complete one thing that your viewers may not know. It is that our relationship with the Arab world has undergone a quiet revolution. And, Israel is no longer viewed, by most of the Arab countries, as an enemy. But, as an indispensable ally in their battle against radicalism. So, there is a new relationship in the Middle-East that co-relates with a new relationship with India.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR: ‘I like soft power. But, hard power is usually better’, you said. Today, India does not engage Pakistan because we believe that terror and talks cannot go hand in hand. Do you endorse that point of view of the Modi government?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well, look I think that I leave India to resolve its own problems and I do not want to stand in judgment. I respect India not only as a great power and I think it is assuming its rightful place among the superpowers. And, I believe in India. But, I also think there is a special relationship between India and Israel because we are two democracies. Two ancient cultures and also modern democracies. There are very few cultures that have survived thousands of years. Our two cultures have. We are unique and we are two democracies, that have the oldest cultural traditions on earth. We have respect for human life, a tolerance for human life, a tolerance for diversity. This is very valuable. I do not just view our partnership in utilitarian terms. I am not [of the view] that India must do everything that Israel wants or Israel must do everything that India wants.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR: When India recently voted contrarian to perhaps the expectations in the UNGA, did that sort of strike you as slightly odd, was it awkward?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: There has been a shift in international forums but it takes time. I am sure we will like to see different voting on every single issue but I think what’s more important is what is actually achieved in Prime Minister Modi’s historic visit to Israel and my visit here.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR: In a few days, the Prime Minister visits the Palestinian side of the fence and he meets the President, did you discuss that with him at all?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well all I can say is that we have a great ally, a long-standing ally, it’s called the United States and President Trump came to Israel and also visited the Palestinian side. So, I understand that India has diverse interests but I really think when you look at where Prime Minister Modi wants to take India, he is taking India into the future, future of innovation, of creativity, of technology, of empowerment in the fields of education. I think the natural partnership…
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR: My last question, there are UN-designated terrorists across the border from us. If India were to go in tomorrow and carry out another surgical strike to eliminate them, would Israel stand & understand where India is going? Would it endorse it?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Well, let’s say this, we have some understanding and I don’t think I have to add beyond that. But I will say that our partnership is first of all directed at four things, it’s not directed against specific countries. It’s directed to achieve greater prosperity and greater security for our people. Clean air, clean water more productive crops, more milk per cow. On all these things, I heard something else today. I had a meeting with business leaders in Mumbai, and one of them said, listen I just bought an Israeli company, he said my stock went up immediately. This is what I like to hear, I like to hear how our people, our companies actually co-operate with one another for great benefits.
RAHUL SHIVSHANKAR: It’s very important that you should say that it is not directed against any country. Last question, against any country, because Pakistan over the last few weeks has been making some bellicose statement that this relationship poses a threat to the region this, that, the other, How do you address people in Pakistan who think like that?
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: We are not enemies of Pakistan and Pakistan should not be our enemy either.
Note: Most of the part and the part of the interview is copied directly from times now news website.