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Modi, Netanyahu bonhomie shifts to Gujarat

DH News Service, Ahmedabad, Jan 18 2018, 0:00 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu at the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu at the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

The greetings, "Prime Minister Modi. My dear, dear friend" and "Shalom" by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi sum up the bonhomie between the two leaders during their one-day visit to Gujarat on Wednesday.

The warmth was also evident when both the leaders expressed optimism about developing future technologies jointly by forging entrepreneurial alliances among youth, while they inaugurated the newly built campus of International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology (iCreate) near Ahmedabad.

An autonomous Centre for start-ups, iCreate was formally launched in 2011 when Modi was Gujarat chief minister.

"The world knows about iPads and iPods and now there is one more i that the world needs to know about. That is iCreate," Netanyahu said in his speech before concluding with the chant, "Jai Hind. Jai Bharat. Jai Israel."

Modi reciprocated by invoking Israeli habit of thinking big and of innovation. "We are working towards making entire system innovation-friendly, as intent leads to ideas, ideas to innovation and innovations would help form a New India," he said.

The visiting PM gifted Gal-Mobile a water desalination and purification vehicle - to India and both the Premiers witnessed a demonstration of the vehicle stationed in the border district of Banaskantha, where the BSF and villagers would benefit from clean drinking water using Gal-Mobile.

They later visited the Centre of Excellence for vegetables at Vadrad village in Sabarkantha district. The CoE has been developed under Indo-Israel Agriculture Work Plan for exchange of technology for advanced farming.

"Israel shows the way on how to transform a nation with the agriculture sector at the core. As we work towards doubling farmer incomes by 2022, optimum utilisation of land resources, minimum wastage & understanding the needs of the market assume prime importance," Modi said.

Roadshow, kite flying

Earlier, the leaders took part in an eight-km-long roadshow, amidst a heavy security blanket. Thousands of people lined up to greet both. India's rich cultural heritage was showcased on 50 stages erected along their route to the one-time home of Mahatma Gandhi €“ Sabarmati Ashram.

At the ashram, Modi showed his guest the personal effects of Gandhi. Netanyahu even tried his hand at Bapu's charkha and later penned his thoughts: "An inspiring visit to the hearth of one of humanity's great prophets of inspiration €“ Mahatma Gandhi."

The leaders also experienced the thrill of popular kite festival in Gujarat €“ Uttarayan - by flying kites on the banks of the Sabarmati river.

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