New Delhi 31 March : On the joint invitation of Hon’ble Vice President and Chairperson of Rajya Sabha and Hon’ble Speaker Lok Sabha, an Israeli Parliamentary Delegation led by H.E. Mr. Amir Ohana, Speaker of the Knesset (Parliament) of the State of Israel is visiting India from 31 March to 4 April 2023.

This is the first visit of H.E. Amir Ohana, Speaker of the Knesset (Parliament) of the State of Israel to any country after assuming Office of the Speaker.

Today, the Delegation called on Lok Sabha Speaker Shri Om Birla at Parliament House. At the outset, Shri Birla welcomed the delegation to India and said that Israel and India have traditionally enjoyed close and friendly relations. Shri Birla underscored that India and Israel share a robust democratic heritage and as fellow democracies both countries have many similarities, which includes respecting diverse cultures, following democratic values, and working as per the hopes and aspirations of the people. Shri Birla observed that in the changing global dynamics, the relations between India and Israel have become more important.

Cautioning about the growing scourge of terrorism, Shri Birla said that terrorism is an area of common concern for India and Israel. Democratic countries like India and Israel should deepen cooperation in the fight against terrorism, stressed Shri Birla. He emphasized that the common strategy of India and Israel will give a new direction to the world in the fight against terrorism.

Referring to the Jews community in India, Shri Birla said that India has always supported and provided a safe ecosystem to the Jews. The Jews have significantly contributed to the development of India, noted Shri Birla.

Mentioning about the strong parliamentary relations between the two Parliaments, Shri Birla expressed happiness at the formation of a Parliamentary Friendship Group for India in the Knesset. Shri Birla emphasized that both Parliaments should work together at international fora and accordingly prepare an action plan based on collective discussion and dialogue. He further suggested that both Parliaments must share experiences, best practices and technology to deal with global challenges and to ensure mutually beneficial outcomes across a range of situations.

Speaking about regular high level visits between the two countries over the years, Shri Birla said that such visits have added new energy to bilateral relations. He added that India-Israel relations have undergone fundamental and qualitative changes since the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Israel in 2017 and subsequently, the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister of Israel, Shri Benjamin Netanyahu to India in 2018.

In the context of the technological dominance of India and Israel in different scientific fields, Shri Birla said that Israel is a world leader in agri-technology. He mentioned that people from around the world seek to emulate the technological progress that Israel has made. Shri Birla said through mutual collaboration both nations can learn from each other and reap the benefits of technological progress.

Speaking about the popularity of India as a tourist destination for the Israeli youth, Shri Birla called for more travel and tourism between the two nations and encouraged more and more people from Israel to visit India. Shri Birla said that India attaches the highest importance to its bilateral relations with Israel and that both countries are natural allies and friends. Shri Birla observed that at a time of immense global change, the importance of India-Israel relations has increased further. He expressed confidence that the India-Israel friendship will continue to set new records of mutual cooperation in the coming decades.

Speaking on this occasion, H.E. Mr. Amir Ohana said that both India and Israel are old civilizations and the relationship between the countries has been strengthened over the period of time. Mentioning about India’s progress, he said that India is rising miraculously in all sectors. H.E. Mr. Amir Ohana expressed hope that the bilateral relations between India and Israel will be further strengthened and collectively both will deal with the global challenges.

On this occasion, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed for strengthening cooperation between the two Parliaments.

The delegation paid homage to the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi by laying a floral wreath at Raj Ghat.