How Modi bonded with Israeli PM over yoga and Shree 420 song

A day after Narendra Modi's bear hug with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became the talk of the town, the bonhomie between the two world leaders was again on display on Monday.

This time, the Israeli Prime Minister said that if his friend Narendra wants to conduct a yoga class with him, he will always be available.

My friend Narendra, if anytime you want to do a yoga class with me, it is a big stretch, but I will be there," Netanyahu said. A smiling Narendra Modi, whose love for yoga is well known, shook hands with Netanyahu and the two global leaders hugged each other.

During the joint press conference, both Modi and Netanyahu addressed each other as "friend".

In the joint address, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Narendra Modi a "revolutionary leader". You are a revolutionary leader, you have revolutionised India. Your visit to Israel was groundbreaking," the Israeli Prime Minister said.

In July last year, Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. Referring to the visit, Netanyahu said, "It excited all Israelis and of course many Israelis of Indian descent and origin came. Well I thought I was in a rock concert. But it was a historic event".

On the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, in which Jewish synagogue Chabad House was attacked, Netanyahu said "we will never give in and will fight back".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed "good friend" Netanyahu to India and said the two countries have "reviewed progress in relations" and "renewed" them. Your (Netanyahu) visit marks a special beginning to our new year calendar," said Modi.

Narendra Modi spoke extensively on increasing bilateral cooperation between India and Israel. We will strengthen the existing pillars of cooperation in areas that touch the lives of our peoples. These are agriculture, science and technology and security. We exchanged views on scaling up the Centers of Excellence that have been a main-stay of agricultural cooperation," the Prime Minister said.

Prime Minister Modi also "invited Israeli companies to take advantage of the liberalised FDI regime to make more in India with our companies" in defence. We are venturing into less explored areas of cooperation such as oil and gas, cyber security, films and start-ups," he said.

Narendra Modi said that in Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, he has a "counterpart who is equally committed to taking the India-Israel relationship to soaring new heights".

Modi will take Netanyahu to his home state Gujarat on Wednesday. There we will have another opportunity to see the fulfilment of the promise, which our mutual cooperation holds in diverse areas such as agriculture, technology, and innovation," Narendra Modi said.

During the lunch hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Israeli delegation, one of songs played by a live band was 'Ichak Dana, Bichak Dana' from the Raj Kapoor-Nargis starrer Shree 420. Number of Israelis who knew that was amazing. Films (are) a good way to build people to people relationships," said Vijay Gokhale, secretary, Ministry of External Affairs.


Army chief’s remark irks China

China on Monday expressed anger over Indian Army chief Bipin Rawat's remarks, saying such "unconstructive" comments would hurt peace and tranquility in the border area.

Gen Rawat last week said India needed to shift its military focus from its western border with Pakistan to its northern border with China. He also said that if China was strong, India was not weak either.

During the past one year, relations between China and India witnessed some twists and turns," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said.

Lu pointed out that in September, the leaders of India and China reached some important consensus on properly handling the differences and promote China-India relations.

Recently, two sides enhanced dialogue on consultations, and bilateral relations have shown sound momentum of improvement and development.

Under such background, the unconstructive remarks by the Indian senior officials not only go against the consensus reached by the two heads of state, and do not conform to the efforts made by the two sides to improve and develop bilateral relations.

It cannot help to preserve tranquillity and peace in the border areas.

Rawat also said that said India needed to check China's growing assertiveness in the South Asian region by forming a partnership with its neighbouring countries.

He also said the crisis at Doklam would have been resolved due to the onset of winter and apprehended that Chinese troops might come back again.

He, however, said that Doklam, which China calls Donglang, is a disputed territory between Beijing and Thimphu.

Asked to which particular remark of Rawat's China has taken exception to, Lu said: "I have made myself clear. If the senior official according to the report referred to Donglang, I think you are clear about our position - Donglang belongs to China and has always been in the effective jurisdiction of China.

The China border troops patrolling and stationed in the area are exercising our sovereignty rights. We hope the Indian side has learned the lessons of history and will avoid similar accidents to take place again.

If he refers to the situation in the whole India-China boundary, I have also said that last September the two heads of state have reached important consensus during the Xiamen summit. Both sides have maintained effective communication since then.

The aim is to enhance strategic mutual trust and create enabling atmosphere for strategic communication. Recently the bilateral relations have shown positive momentum.

On such background, the official mentioned by you made such kind of remarks that go against the consensus of the states and do not conform to the general trend of improvement of bilateral relations. We believe such kinds of remarks are not conducive to maintaining peace and tranquility in border areas.


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