“The strong survive, the weak don’t survive, you make peace and alliances with the strong,” Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the Raisina Dialogue conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Speaking on the third day of his six-day trip to India, Netanyahu became the first foreign leader to speak at the policy conference, saying that in order to achieve military power, nations had to first achieve economic power.
Netanyahu also praised his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and commended Modi’s landmark visit to Israel last July. “Your visit to Israel broke ground,” Netanyahu said. “You were the first leader of India to come to Israel in 3000 years, I hope it will not take long for your next visit. I want to tell you that we believe in India as much as you believe in Israel.”
Netanyahu also talked to the conference, titled Managing Disruptive Transitions: Ideas, Institutions and Idioms, about what it takes to manage India’s disruptive transition into an economic superpower:
“If you want to be an economic power, you must reduce and simplify taxes, and cut bureaucracy. The main job of both India and Israel is to cut this bureaucracy so companies can get on with the business of doing business,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister closed his speech by reiterating the importance of the alliance between Israel and India, as well as between democracies in general. “The alliance of democracies is important to secure our common future. I believe possibilities are endless. In this visit, we have discussed how we can strengthen our two nations in civilian, security and in every area.”
On Monday, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that his country and Israel will scale up their partnership and take it to “soaring new heights,” at a press conference in New Delhi.
Subsequent to a face-to-face meeting between the two leaders, Modi said “our discussions were marked by convergence to accelerate our engagement and to scale up our partnership.”
“In Prime Minister Netanyahu, I have a counterpart who is equally committed to taking the India-Israel relationship to soaring new heights,” Modi added.
Modi described the talks as “wide-ranging and intensive, marked by a desire to do more.” He said that Israel and India wanted to strengthen cooperation in agriculture, science and technology and that he had invited Israeli defense companies to produce in India.
Netanyahu, for his part, hailed Modi as a “revolutionary leader” and described India as a country that “abounds with creativity and scientific technology.” Netanyahu said he was “filled with hope that this new era of India-Israel relations will bring unprecedented benefits to both nations and all of humanity.”
Meanwhile, Israel and India signed nine agreements Monday in the fields of cyber security cooperation, petroleum and natural gas, aviation agreement, film co-production, research into homeopathic medicine, space technologies, metal air batteries and concentrated solar thermal technologies.
As was reported by Yaakov Lappin in an article for the Jewish News Service, Israel’s defense industries have been supplying ever-increasing numbers of cutting-edge weapons and platforms to India’s military. Last April, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced a $2 billion sale of medium-range, surface-to-air missile defense systems to the Indian Army. IAI’s Barak 8 air defense system, which can detect threats that are more than 60 miles away, is in service in the Indian Navy.
Another prominent development in bilateral defense ties is a $525 million order from India for the purchase of Spike anti-tank guided missiles produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems—a deal that was initially canceled by India for reasons relating to the country’s “Make in India” policy, but which was reportedly revived shortly before Netanyahu’s visit.
“India has deep defense cooperation with Israel,” Vinay Kaura, an assistant professor of international affairs and security studies at the Sardar Patel University of Police, Security and Criminal Justice in Rajasthan, India, told JNS.
“This has been a mutually beneficial relationship,” he said. “India has diversified its arms purchases while getting highly advanced weapons. Israel has benefited substantially monetarily….Israel has been a very reliable supplier of military spare parts to India during time of crisis. India has also turned to Israel to upgrade some of its Russian-origin military equipment.”
Netanyahu’s visit, which comes six months after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Israel, “will further deepen the already close defense ties,” said Kaura.
Additionally, he argued, “There are many advanced American weapons systems that India could not access directly. India could get these weapons through Israel.”
On the political front, it was reported by the Chabad.org web site that the surviving son of the Orthodox Jewish couple that was murdered in the Mumbai, India attack by terrorists in 2008 has returned to his former home after 10 years with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Moshe Holtzberg, the son of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg lives in Israel now with relatives. Chabad has reported that one of the objectives of the trip is for Moshe to help unveil plans for a state-of-the-art Living Memorial in honor of his parents who were dispatched to Mumbai as Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries.
Moshe Holtzberg, who is now a 12-year-old yeshiva student, will join Netanyahu, who will unveil a plaque honoring his parents at Nariman House, the building in the bustling Colaba district of India’s largest city that houses the Chabad center. The plaque will serve as the cornerstone for the Living Memorial.
Designed to educate and inspire people of all backgrounds to act for the betterment of themselves, their communities and the world, the Living Memorial will include the apartment where the Holtzbergs lived, as well as the floor where most of the murders occurred. On the top floor, from where one can see the sites of the other terror attacks that swept through Mumbai, will be a reflection garden that will focus on and recognize all the victims of the attacks.
“Inspired by the universal teachings of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—the Living Memorial is designed to show how every individual has the ability and responsibility to make the world a better place,” said Rabbi Yisroel Kozlovsky, co-director, with his wife, Chaya, of Chabad-Lubavitch of Mumbai.
Since arriving in 2012, the Kozlovskys, based out of a small house in Mumbai set out to reestablish Chabad’s activities and services in the region, to its pre-2008 levels, and rebuild Nariman House, which was still in disrepair following the terror attack and the subsequent Indian commando raid. Amid much celebration, Chabad of Mumbai formally reopened Nariman House in 2014. It serves as the nerve center for Chabad’s work in the city, and home away from home for local members of the community and visitors from around the world.
Moshe was invited to visit his former home by Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi during the premier’s maiden visit to Israel in July; it was then that Netanyahu invited the boy to join him on this trip to India, the first by an Israeli prime minister in 25 years.
Edited by: Arthur Popowitz
(TPS, JNS & Chabad.org)