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Jerusalem, Israel : 14.10.2015

1. I am very happy to be here today. This is a historic first State Visit to Israel by an Indian President. I thank President Reuven Rivlin and the Government and people of Israel for the warm reception and gracious hospitality extended to me and to my delegation.

2.Soon after my arrival I visited Yad Varshem and offered prayers in memory of all the men, women and children commemorated here.

3.I am accompanied by H’ble Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Taawar Chand Gehlot, and a delegation of Members of Parliament representing many different political parties and regions of India. A group of eminent educationists is also accompanying me.

4.I greatly look forward to my discussions with His Excellency, the President of Israel, H’ble Prime Minister and other political leaders. We will engage on a wide range of issues of shared interest. My officials and the senior educationists in my delegation will meet their counterparts to take forward our bilateral agenda and explore new avenues of co-operation and partnership. I will meet His Excellency, H’ble Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Issac Herzog and greatly look forward to visiting the Knesset.

5. India attaches high importance to its relationship with Israel. Relations between India and Israel have taken great strides in the last few years. We are cooperating and collaborating in a range of areas from defence and agriculture to science, research and innovation. We are also discovering and identifying new areas of complementarities where there is significant potential to be realized. We agree that there are tremendous opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration. As two leading knowledge economies of Asia and the world, India and Israel have many strengths and much to learn from each other’s experiences.

6. President Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and I will also take this opportunity to discuss the many global challenges that our two countries face today - including the growing menace of terrorism and extremism, our common concerns about climate change and the urgent need for reform of global governance architecture. We are distressed at the recent violence. India condemns all forms of terrorism. We have always advocated a peaceful resolution of all disputes.I will seek the assessment of the Israeli leadership about the recent developments in this region which have caused concern all over the world and have direct implications for India.

7. My visit is intended to further strengthen the excellent relations between our two countries and increase our friendship, mutual trust and understanding. India looks forward to enhancing our close co-operation with Israel for the progress of our respective peoples and peace in this part of the world.

Thank you.