Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday termed his country’s partnership with India as one “made in heaven”.
Addressing the India-Israel Business Summit in Mumbai, Netanyahu mentioned the “deep personal friendship” he shares with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, adding that the warmth goes deeper, right up to the common man.
On the last leg of his four-day India visit, which he described as extraordinary, Netanyahu said there is a deep and abiding respect for India, it’s people and culture.
“We are the two oldest cultures on earth. We are democracies, we share our love for freedom, and we share our love for humanity. We are truly your partners. This is a partnership made in heaven,” Netanyahu said, while appealing to Indian businesses to invest in Israel.
Netanyahu said there is a similarity between how he changed the landscape in Israel after inheriting an economy with trouble on multiple fronts, and the way Prime Minister Modi is working.
“When I spoke to Prime Minister Modi, I saw he was doing exactly that (what I did). He is up to the task, he understands innovation, the need to simplify,” the Israel PM said.
Curtailing excessive regulations, which are “barriers to competition”, and empowering private enterprise, is the key for instant growth, Netanyahu said, adding that he had undertaken these steps.
The private sector does the heavy lifting in the economy and the only way to empower it is through “lower, simple and easy taxes”, he said.
Netanyahu said his administration’s measures have ensured Israel climbing 12 spots to be 15th on the World Bank’s competitive index rankings.
Countries like the US, Singapore and Switzerland, which out-rank Israel in the rankings, make him “lose sleep” and not the ones like Syria, Netanyahu said.
Stating that his country aims to break into the top ten in terms of competitiveness globally, Netanyahu said he is putting those ahead of it “on watch” and added “Israel is on their tail”.
Netanyahu reiterated the importance of innovation, a subject he touched during his ‘power breakfast’ meet with select chief executives of Indian companies, and said it is important for businesses to innovate without any hindrance.
Israelis collaborate with Indians in California to make Silicon Valley a hub of innovation, Netanyahu said.
“We have to bring the talents of Indians and Israelis together,” Netanyahu said, referring to efforts on getting a direct flight link between India and Israel as an effort in this direction.
Speaking about his visit to the ‘iCreate’ innovation hub in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, Netanyahu said he felt like being in Israel, watching the work at the hub. He mentioned drone development by a 14-year-old boy, which he told Modi, can be turned into a mega business in the future.
Netanyahu said even though Israel has committed to have 30 centres helping the farm sector, it would like to create a network of 1,000 agents which will spread the know-how for better yields.
“Winning does not have to be exclusive. India and Israel are winning by a partnership which is reaching unprecedented heights. This is just the beginning,” he said.
“This is the beginning of a wonderful, ancient friendship and the possibilities are boundless,” he said.