How Israel went out of the way to welcome Indian PM Narendra Modi - Watch videos

Narendra Modi was greeted by Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu who told the PM that Israel had "waited for 70 years" for him.

Narendra Modi got a grand welcome in Israel on Tuesday as he reached the country for the maiden visit of any Indian Prime Minister. He was greeted by Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu who told the PM that Israel had “waited for 70 years for you”. Exuding confidence of better ties between the two countries, Modi asserted that his visit will be a “path-breaking journey of engagement”.

Narendra Modi’s three-day visit to Isreal is aimed at commemorating the establishment of 25 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries. During the trip, there will be discussions between him and his Israeli counterpart Netanyahu to find out ways to enhance cooperation in key strategic areas. The Prime Minister will also be meeting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday.

Here is how Israel welcomed Modi – the first Indian PM to visit the country

Modi’s Air India One taxied to a red carpet welcome at a secluded corner of Ben Gurion airport. Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu was seen waiting to welcome the PM. The two world leaders have each other a hug.

While Netanyahu said “Aapka swagat hai mere dost,” Modi returned the warmth by saying that in Hebrew “Shalom le kulaam ani semya mayodh lehiyot po which means I am delighted to be in Israel.

Modi opened pages from history and said that Tuesday was the 41st anniversary of the Entebbe raid. He recalled how in the raid that saved 94 Israeli hostages in Uganda, Netanyahu’s elder brother was killed. He added: “Your heroes are an inspiration for the younger generations.”

Another feather in the cap was that Modi was welcomed in a way only the Pope or the US president are greeted. In a never before gesture, leaders of all major religions – Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jew, Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Catholic and Muslim – welcomed the Indian Prime Minister.

Netanyahu also introduced Modi to his cabinet and senior officials.

While reminded Modi that he had said that “sky is the limit for India and Israel”, Netanyahu said that by working together in space programmes, they “can now say the sky is not the limit anymore.”

Plucking a leaf from Modi’s book, Netanyahu gave an acronym saying “I-square-plus-T-square – India and Israel plus Israeli technology and Indian talent, is India-Israel ties for tomorrow.”

Modi also visited a flower farm where a chrysanthemum was named after him. State of Israel to tweeted: “New fast-growing Israeli Crysanthumun flower named in honor of PM @narendramodi and will be called “MODI”. Indeed, a #GrowingPartnership!” The Danziger flower farm is one of Israel’s leading floriculture companies with approximately 80,000 square meters of state-of-the-art greenhouses specialising in the reproduction of plants.

Modi also visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial, which has a hall with the name of 4.6 million victims of Nazi terror.

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