“Marriage made in heaven”, UN vote won’t affect ties: Netanyahu on India

NEW DELHI: Dubbing the India-Israel relationship as a “marriage made in heaven”, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his maiden visit to India said on Sunday that even though the Jewish state was “disappointed” by India’s vote at the UN against the Jerusalem issue, one negative vote will not affect the ties between the two countries.

Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped that his visit to India will strengthen cooperation between the two countries in various areas like technology, agriculture and other spheres that are changing the world.

“Yes, naturally we were disappointed, but this visit is a testimony that our relationship is moving on so many fronts forward,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said when asked to comment on India’s vote at UN against the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“I don’t think one vote affects a general trend you can see in many other votes and these visits,” he told India Today in an interview.

Last month, India joined 127 other countries to vote in the United Nations General Assembly in favour of a resolution opposing the recent decision of US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The resolution was approved with 127-9 at the UN General Assembly.

“First of all, there is a special relationship between the two countries, between their people and then between the leaders. The partnership between India and Israel is a marriage made in heaven but consecrated on earth,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said.

Hailing Prime Minister Narendra Modi “as a great leader”, Benjamin Netanyahu said the Prime Minister was “impatient to bring future to his people”.

Asked about his agreement with PM Modi on counterterrorism, Prime Minister Netanyahu said the doctrine of counter-terrorism included having intelligence to prevent it.

“You fight terrorism by fighting it,” he said.

“Our defence relationship is quite significant and comprises many things. I think the key word here is defence. We want to defend ourselves, we are not aggressive nations. We are very committed to making sure that no one can commit an aggression against the either one of us,” he said.

Commenting on the ways to strengthen bilateral ties, Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was developing rapidly and is creating industries “out of thin air”.

He said given India’s importance in being a major auto dealer, it would be important for India and Israel to have a good tie-up between car manufacturers.