Modi invites Bennett to India on official visit

“In the name of the State of Israel, I want to tell you, we love India,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves upon his arrival to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (not pictured) in Ramallah, in the West Bank February 10, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves upon his arrival to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (not pictured) in Ramallah, in the West Bank February 10, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for an official visit to India.

The message was relayed by India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who met with Bennett in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

“In the name of the State of Israel, I want to tell you, we love India,” Bennett said. “We see India as a great friend and expect to broaden the relationship between us in all areas.”

Bennett thanked Jaishankar for his and Modi’s commitment to the Israel-India partnership, which has grown closer in the years since Modi entered office.

Jaishankar and Bennett discussed strengthening bilateral ties between their countries.

Jaishankar also met with President Isaac Herzog on Wednesday.

 President Isaac Herzog is seen meeting with India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in the President's Residence in Jerusalem, on October 20, 2021. (credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO) President Isaac Herzog is seen meeting with India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in the President's Residence in Jerusalem, on October 20, 2021. (credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

Herzog praised the growth of the Israel-India relationship in a range of fields.

Herzog emphasized his intention to personally assist in promoting and strengthening ties between the countries, ahead of the 13th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and India next year.

Jaishankar met with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid earlier this week, and they announced that Israel and India will resume negotiations for a free trade agreement next month, with an aim to sign in mid-2022.

They also participated in a videoconference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed. The four top diplomats agreed to establish a forum for economic cooperation and to meet in person at the Dubai Expo 2020 in the coming months.

Jaishankar was with Lapid in Jerusalem for the quadripartite meeting, which Jaishankar called “fruitful.”

“Discussed working together more closely on economic growth and global issues,” he tweeted. “Agreed on expeditious follow-up.”

The Indian foreign minister also met with Energy Minister Karin Elharar, who signed an agreement for Israel to join the International Solar Alliance, which India and France established in 2015.

Joining the alliance will allow Israel to contribute its knowledge and experience on solar power.