Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other senior officials are expected to visit India this year as the two countries mark 30 years of diplomatic relations, Israel’s Ambassador to India Naor Gilon said Monday.
In a webinar held for the virtual launch of a special logo to kick off the year-long celebrations to commemorate the occasion, Gilon said he felt very lucky to be Israel’s Ambassador to India when ” the relationships are exceptional” and “beyond the regularity”. that of the “partnership between ancient civilisations”.
To further deepen bilateral cooperation in various fields, Gilon said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other officials are likely to visit India as the two countries celebrate 30 years of establishing diplomatic relations.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar extended an invitation to Bennett from Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Israel last year.
“This is an important opportunity to reflect on our mutual successes as well as a good opportunity to look forward and shape the next 30 years of our relationship. I am sure that our existing close cooperation in different fields will only continue to grow and prosper in the years to come,” Gilon stressed.
Gilon launched the logo virtually with his Indian counterpart in Tel Aviv, Ambassador Sanjeev Singla. The logo features the Star of David and the Ashoka Chakra, the two symbols that adorn the national flags of the two countries, and forms the number 30 representing the 30th anniversary of bilateral relations.
The Israeli envoy highlighted in his speech ties going back thousands of years with no trace of anti-Semitism in India, unlike in Europe and other parts of the world. Recalling the visit to Jaishankar, Gilon mentioned India’s role in shaping the region with Indian soldiers participating in world wars and buried in different parts of Israel.
Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, viewed India and the Israeli national movement as “brother liberation movements”, he said, underscoring the Israeli leader’s deep respect for Mahatma Gandhi whom he had the photo on his bedroom wall.
Singla, in his speech, said 2022 also marks five years of bilateral strategic partnership that was established during Prime Minister Modi’s historic visit to Israel in 2017.
The year therefore offers an opportunity not only to look back and take into account the bilateral achievements of the last thirty years, but also of the last five years when the relationship was placed on a “qualitatively higher trajectory”, a- he declared. As both countries celebrate this important milestone, it is also an opportunity to appreciate the efforts of our leaders, diplomats, thinkers, strategists and all those who have led our partnership and continue to nurture this important relationship, a Singla said.
“Our two peoples are bound by civilizational ties that go beyond trade and economic ties. The Jewish people have flourished in India for centuries and, in fact, have enriched the composite culture of India,” he said.
Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, the Indian envoy recounted how Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagar not only saved the lives of several Jewish children but provided them with shelter during the Second World War, but also took care of them as long as they chose to be under his guardianship.
Addressing the Indian Jewish community in Israel, Singla said they “form the organic bond, a bridge” that “continues to grow with shared traditions, cultural practices, mutual trust and friendship.”
“Over the past five years, our focus has been on leveraging our strengths as two knowledge economies,” he said, pointing to deeper collaboration in research and development, innovation, l artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
To create the 30th anniversary logo, the two countries launched a competition last year for students of top design schools in Israel and India.
Nominations were invited from Israel Holon Institute of Technology and India’s National Institute of Design (NIT). The design by Nikhil Kumar Rai of NIT was unanimously chosen as the commemorative logo for the celebrations. Nikhil, originally from Varanasi, is a final year student at NIT Ahmedabad and also studied at the Faculty of Visual Arts, Banaras Hindu University (BHU).
“I wanted my design to be simple and bold that connects audiences in both countries,” Nikhil said during the webinar to launch the logo.
“It should portray the rich history of both countries and look to the future,” he added.
Event moderator Dr. Oshrit Birvadker said the special logo symbolizes the strong friendship, love and admiration that exists between the people of Israel and the people of India. “It also depicts the growing strategic partnership between the two parties,” Birvadker said.