(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met on Sunday in New York, marking the first meeting between top leaders of the two countries in more than a decade.
“We are two old peoples, some of the oldest [among] the nations on earth, but we are also two democracies—we’re proud of our rich traditions, but we’re also eager to seize the future. I believe that if we work together we can do so with benefits to both our peoples,” Netanyahu said.
India and Israel have a number of modern and historical similarities. Hinduism and Judaism share ethno-religious components that set them apart from other major faiths. Both religions have complicated systems of laws, purity codes, and dietary restrictions that define their communities. In modern times, both India and Israel achieved independence from Great Britain during the late 1940s, after long internal struggles and bloody partition plans.
“I agree with you that India-Israel relations are historical,” Modi told Netanyahu.
Modi, who served as chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat from 2001-2014, forged strong ties with Israeli businesses during that time. Under his leadership, Israeli companies poured billions of dollars of investment into Gujarat in areas like industrial research, solar and thermal power, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, and water recycling and desalination plants.