Mukherjee said that India and Israel are “modern nations but ancient civilizations,” and both modern countries are “united in democracy” and were founded after a struggle against British rule.

“Our leaders adopted different methods, but were inspired by the same human values and ideals. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Mahatma Gandhi is the only world leader whose picture is hung in David Ben-Gurion’s desert home,” he said. “We admire the will and resolve you have shown in building your nation under difficult circumstances.”

The Indian president said his nation “always appreciated Israeli innovations in the field of agriculture, the kibbutz system and the remarkable achievements of your scientists and engineers,” saying drip irrigation is widely used, and the country is looking to develop efficient technologies for water management and cleaning rivers.

Mukherjee called to develop ties between Israeli and Indian universities and to integrate “Israeli innovation and Indian engineering and scale,” to create markets and jobs in both countries. He spoke of his country’s association with the Israeli defense industry.

He added that “whenever the Nobel Prizes have been announced, we have often seen the names of awardees who have studied in Israeli universities. As friends of Israel, we rejoice in the success of your scientists.”

As for tourism, Mukherjee said India “is delighted that Israeli citizens, particularly the younger generation, enjoy traveling to India. They rightly see India as a safe and welcoming destination where they always feel at home. I am told that Hebrew has been learned in some villages, and they even serve hummus.”

The Indian president spoke of his country’s Jewish community.

“The Jewish citizens who came to India landed on the western coast more than 2,000 years ago. Throughout their long history, the Jewish communities in India have maintained, developed and enriched their traditions with many Indian additions to their unique heritage. The Jewish people have been and will always be an integral part of India’s composite society,” he said.

Mukherjee mentioned the synagogue in Cochin, which he said is the only place in the world where there is a mosque, a church, a Hindu temple and a church on one street, and said the Jewish community of Mumbai has contributed to its architecture, banking, literature and Bollywood.

Netanyahu spoke of the economic potential of Israel-India ties.

“India is a giant country and we’re a small one, but together we do great things in science, technology, trade, cyber, water and security. We are working together to realize our potential for innovation to bring growth and welfare to our countries,” he said. “The time has come for our technology and our entrepreneurs meet yours much more.”

Source: The Jerusalem Post