PM Modi Announces Direct Flights Between Delhi, Mumbai And Tel Aviv:- Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi announced that even if the people of Indian origin in Israel have undergone the compulsory army service in Tel Aviv, they will get the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards.
Addressing the Indian diaspora at an event, he said that to encourage people-to-people contacts, the direct flights would be launched between Delhi, Mumbai and Tel Aviv.
Mr. Modi also said that, fulfilling a long-pending demand of the Indian diaspora an Indian cultural centre would also be opened. He said that he had come to know of the problems being faced by the Indian origin people in Israel, in getting the OCI cards.
The Prime Minister said to the cheering crowd, that the rules have been simplified by the Indian Government and even those who have undergone the compulsory military service in Israel, will be eligible for the OCI cards. The Jewish Nation had links with India dating back to centuries. But, the fact that no Indian Prime Minister had visited the county in 70 years, thus raises questions.
He said amid chants of “Modi, Modi”, an Indian Prime Minister has landed here, “for the first time in 70 years, to seek your blessings.” Modi describing the Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, as “my friend”, said the kind of welcome extended to him since his arrival yesterday, cannot be forgotten by anyone.
The Indian Prime Minister, hailing Israel, particularly its innovations and scientific advancements, said the country has demonstrated that the number and size does not matter but it is the spirit that matters. There were about 600 Indian students in Israel who can contribute to the future of the relationship, said Mr. Modi. He further recalled former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres, saying he had worked tirelessly for the humanity. Referring to Moshe Holtzberg, the 11-year-old Israeli, who was lost his parents during the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, said it had shown how life succeeds over terrorism. He had met Moshe earlier in the day.
Modi also recalled the contribution of the Indian army in liberation of Jerusalem and Haifa during the World War-I. To pay his tributes to them, he will be traveling to Haifa tomorrow. In his 60-minute speech, he talked about various programmes initiated by his government and said these were aimed at the betterment of the common people.
Netanyahu said “the partnership between India and Israel was “made in heaven and was happening here now.”” He said he and Modi had decided on a vast programme and the Indian diaspora was “a bridge”. “We love you,” he added. “We have decided to cooperate in so many areas.... We are building this future today, between two democracies,” the Israeli prime minister said.
The flights to Israel from Delhi until mid-1990s and Mumbai until early 2000, were operated by Air India. Due to commercial reasons, the flights were withdrawn.