President & First Lady Rivlin hosted at State Dinner by President Pranab Mukherjee of India
President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin this evening (Tuesday) were hosted as guests of honor at a state dinner held by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee to mark their visit to India. At the beginning of the evening, both Presidents delivered addresses and raised toasts to the growing cooperation between Israel and India.
President Rivlin began by thanking his Indian counterpart for his tremendous hospitality and spoke of the long-standing historic ties between the Jewish and Indian people. He noted that Elazar Ben Yair, the Jewish commander at the fall of Masada had spoken in his speech to the fighters there of the inspiration he drew from the Indian people’s faith in liberty.
He said, “I am here after your visit to Israel, Mr. President, to say once again how important and cherished are our close friendship and cooperation. It would take too long to list all the areas we are working together, but I want to point especially to what Prime Minister Modi has called the Four Colored Revolution - bringing together the colors of the Indian flag. Saffron for solar power, green for agriculture white for dairy produce and blue for water. In all these issues, Israel – little Israel – is a giant of knowledge and experience, as we have had to overcome our own challenges. The advanced solar power systems, irrigation, water treatment, and the average milk production per cow, are just a few examples of Israeli innovation. Today’s innovation, is beyond imagination, and we have technology companies which are working to make water out of air. In partnership with you, Israel is dedicated to bringing these technologies; and not only Make In India, but also Make with India.”
He concluded, “Next year we will mark 25 of our diplomatic relations. But I am more interested in what we can achieve in the next 25 years. To this future, of joint education, joint commerce, security, and food security, I wish to raise a toast. Our two nations have changed the world before; it is time to do it again, together.”
President Mukherjee said “Mr. President, you represent a people who Indians admire, with whom we feel a strong and unique bond. We are both ancient civilizations that have made significant contributions to humanity. Trade and cultural contacts between our peoples can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization. Indian society has over the centuries been enriched by the achievements of its Jewish community. Both our peoples gained independence after the Second World War. Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation, had believed that Jews had a legitimate claim for Israel. Pandit Nehru too believed in this. He said in 1950 and I quote, "Israel is a fact". As three nations we have both spent our formative years in developmental planning and nation building. We both have remained firmly committed to democratic values and continue to strive for our common goals of global security and peace.”