On his three-day visit to Israel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that the Indian diaspora in the Jewish nation would be given the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards, even if they have served in the Israeli military. The announcement was made during an interaction with the Israeli citizens of Indian origin with country’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu seated in the audience. Speaking in front of a gathering of around 4,000 people, PM Modi said, “I have heard the complaints about not getting OCI cards for the Indian community here. But if the relations have heart-to-heart connection, they do not depend on documents.”
Further referring to the Home Ministry rules, PM Modi said, “Those who have done compulsory Army service, they can also get the OCI… Because of some Indian rules, you were not able to convert them from PIO cards into OCI.” As of now, Indian government did not issue OCI cards to those who have served in the Israeli military. As per a report by Indian Express, the that been a longstanding demand from the Jews of Indian origin who have stayed in Israel and wanted OCI cards.
The announcement made by PM Modi would benefit as many as 80,000 Jews of Indian origin, said the paper. PM Modi has also assured to provide direct flight connecting New Delhi and Tel Aviv. Indian Express further quoted PM Modi saying, “The Jewish community has enriched India with their contribution in various fields. Israel has shown that more than size, it is the spirit that matters. Our ties with Israel are about mutual trust and friendship.”
Highlighting the initiatives taken by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Central government to improve the economy of India including opening up the defence sector for FDI, PM Modi said.
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“The Israeli companies can come and try their fortune,” PM Modi added further saying that we have introduced 100 per cent FDI in key sectors, which will help our economy. With GST, we are aiming towards the economic integration of India. The aim of my government is reform, perform and transform,” PM Modi concluded.
Speaking during the same session Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Modi and I have decided to take our partnership to new heights. We love you. I want Indians to come to Israel on a curry trail, just like Israelis go to India on a hummus trail.”