The bonhomie between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his "good friend" Benjamin Netanyahu was on full display today when the leaders hugged and shook hands a number of times during their joint press event.
The bonhomie between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his “good friend” Benjamin Netanyahu was on full display today when the leaders hugged and shook hands a number of times during their joint press event. While the visiting Israeli prime minister called Modi a “revolutionary leader” and used an endearment like “my friend Narendra”, Modi responded with great warmth, welcoming the guest in Hebrew. Netanyahu said he was willing to participate in a “yoga class” with his “friend Narendra”. “My friend Narendra…any time you want to do yoga a class with me…it is a big stretch but I will be there. Trust me,” Netanyahu remarked, reflecting the deep camaraderie the two leaders share. The chemistry between the two leaders is well known. Last year when Modi visited Israel, the first Indian prime minister to do so, he was received by Netanyahu at the airport, a gesture normally reserved for guests such as US presidents.
The overwhelming warmth was also seen when the two leaders took a walk along the Mediterranean Sea during Modi’s visit. The warmth has continued with Modi setting aside protocol to receive Netanyahu at the airport yesterday. At the joint press statement, Netanyahu showered praise on Modi. “You are a revolutionary leader and you are revolutionising India. You are catapulting this magnificent state into to the future. And you have revolutionised the relations between Israel and India,” Netanyahu, popularly known as ‘Bibi’, said.
Modi also responded warmly dubbing Netanyahu’s visit as a “long-anticipated moment in the journey of friendship” between India and Israel. He further said that the visit was also a fitting climax to the commemoration of 25 years of bilateral diplomatic relations and marked a “special beginning” to the new year calendar, with Indians rejoicing the arrival of spring, hope and harvest.
Modi will also accompany Netanyahu to his home state, Gujarat, on January 17.