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Media statement by the President of India upon the conclusion of his state visit to Jordan, Palestine and Israel en route from Telaviv to New Delhi



Media statement by the President of India upon the conclusion of his state visit to Jordan, Palestine and Israel en route from Telaviv to New Delhi 

Following is the full text of the statement to media by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee upon the conclusion of his State visit to Jordan, Palestine and Israel (from October 10 to 15, 2015). The statement was made on board the aircraft during the President’s return to New Delhi from Telaviv yesterday (October 15, 2015):

“I have just concluded successful state visits to Jordan, Palestine and Israel from October 10-15, 2015. My delegation included Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment and six Members of Parliament representing major political parties, namely, Prof. K.V. Thomas, Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi, Dr. Subhash Ramrao Bhamre, Shri Prathap Simha, Shri Vinod Chavda and Dr. Anupam Hazra. Senior officials of Rashtrapathi Bhavan, MEA, MHRD, Vice Chancellors of JNU and Jamia Millia Islamia, Director, IIT Kharagpur and Director, Cluster Innovation Centre, Delhi University were also part of my delegation.

My visits to Jordan, Palestine and Israel were first ever visits by an Indian President. They reflect the importance that India places on enhancing our partnership with countries of this region, which is our extended neighbourhood. I took the opportunity to brief the leaderships of these countries on the initiatives of our Government in various fields and to explore possiblities of enhanced cooperation in bilateral, regional and international context.

Jordan 

India has close, warm and cordial relations with Jordan. We admire the leadership of His Majesties Late King Hussein and King Abdullah II that has ensured Jordan's continued progress despite many challenges. During the visit, I held meetings with His Majesty King Abdullah II and Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour of Jordan. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser S. Judeh called on me. We discussed the entire gamut of bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual concern. In all my meetings, I found a significant convergence of mutual interests and a genuine deep-seated desire for closer cooperation.

We explored possibilities of opening up new synergies in different areas of mutual interest including counter terrorism, defence, IT, and energy. HM King Abdullah II expressed his keen desire to encourage Indian companies to work with the Jordanian ICT companies. 16 MoUs and Agreements, including between academic institutions were finalised. A major avenue in Amman was named after Mahatma Gandhi during my visit.

King Abdullah II supported India’s candidature to permanent membership of an expanded UN Security Council and the ongoing UN reform process. King Abdullah II and I inaugurated a US$ 860 million project of Jordan-India Fertilizer Co., a joint venture between IFFCO and the Jordan Phosphate Mines Company to produce phosphoric acid for export to India. In response to my appeal, King Abdullah II expressed willingness to enter into long-term arrangements for supply of phosphates to India from Jordan as well as establish more JVs to meet demand of phosphoric acid, rock phosphate and DAP. I announced a Line of Credit of US $ 100 million to Jordan as Project Assistance and increase of the number of ITEC slots from 30 to 50. I invited their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania to pay a State visit to India at the earliest opportunity, which was accepted graciously.

Palestine 

In Palestine, I was received with great warmth and affection by President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Dr. Rami Hamdallah and leaders of major political parties. President Abbas briefed me about the evolving situation in Israel-Palestine relations and emphasised that they were seeking a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian issue.

I reiterated India’s principled support to the Palestinian cause and called for a negotiated solution resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognized borders, side by side at peace with Israel as endorsed in the Quartet Roadmap and relevant UNSC Resolutions.

President Abbas appreciated our support and thanked me profusely for staying overnight in Ramallah, being the first Head of State from any country to do so. He respectfully described us as ‘brothers’ and not just friends. He assured me that they were seekers of peace following in the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi. He conveyed his conviction that non-violence is the only way for Palestine to realize it’s dream of an independent Palestinian State.

I announced increase of ICCR scholarships from 10 to 25 per annum and ITEC slots from 50 to 100 for Palestine. We handed over a cheque worth US$ 5 million as budgetary support to the Palestinian authority.

I paid floral tributes at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi placed at the Garden of Nations in Ramallah and inaugurated along with President Abbas a roundabout named ‘Maidan Al Hind’. I paid tributes at the Mausoleum of Yasser Arafat, who was a good friend of India and whom I had met personally on several occasions. I inaugurated the India-Palestine Center for Excellence in ICT in the Al Quds University and announced India’s decision to build one more India-Palestine Center for Excellence in ICT in Gaza with similar aims and objectives at an estimated cost of US$ 1 million. I announced Government of India’s decision to set up an IT park in Ramallah at an estimated cost of US$ 12 million and a Palestinian Institute of Diplomacy at an estimated cost of US$ 4.5 million.

The India-Palestine Higher Education Roundtable was held between premier institutions of our two countries and establishment of an Indian Chair in Al Quds University announced. In all, six MOUs and Agreements were signed during the visit. I invited President Abbas to visit India and he assured me of doing so at an early date.

Israel 

In Israel, I was received with great warmth and friendship by President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Speaker of Knesset Yuli-Yoel Edelstein. We reviewed our multidimensional relations and explored ways and means to enhance them for the mutual benefit of our two countries. I was deeply honoured to be invited to address the Knesset and touched by the enthusiasm I found amongst Members of Parliament for better relations with India. I along with our Members of Parliament had a detailed interaction with Leader of the Opposition Isaac Herzog and his colleagues.

I visited Mt. Herzl and paid my respects to victims of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem, the World Centre for Holocaust Research, where I was accompanied by President Rivlin. I also placed a wreath at the tomb of Theodor Herzl.

I described Israel as one of the most important countries for India and conveyed the need for our two countries to reinvigorate bilateral ties in all areas of our engagement. Israel has provided defence equipment, platforms and systems at a time when India needed them the most. We discussed the need to expand cooperation in solar energy, dairy development, water management, horticulture, animal husbandry and agriculture as well as cooperation between Indian Space Research Organization and Israeli Space Agency. PM Netanyahu and I discussed new possibilities and synergies to diversify our trade as well as mutual investments. I informed the Israeli leadership about various initiatives taken by the Government of India like ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Clean Ganga’, ‘Smart Cities’, ‘Start-up India’, etc. and invited investment as well as participation by Israeli companies.

I invited President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu to visit India. President Rivlin accepted my invitation and confirmed his intention to do so at an early date. I also invited Israeli Parliamentarians to come to India and engage with their Indian counterparts.

Nobel Prize winner and former Israeli President as well as Prime Minister, Shimon Peres called on me as an old friend. He described my visit as one carrying hope and peace. He said India with its democracy and multi cultural society is a model to Israel and all other countries.

Two agreements were signed between the Governments. Eight MoUs were also exchanged between educational institutions of India and Israel. These will promote cooperation in the field of higher education between the two countries and provide for joint research, exchange of scholars, etc.

In public remarks, I expressed distress at recent incidents of violence, condemned all forms of terrorism and called for peaceful resolution of all disputes.

Honorary Doctorates were conferred upon me by leading Universities of all three countries, the University of Jordan, the Al Quds University and the Hebrew University, which I accepted in humility as symbol of their friendship and regard for India. I also addressed the Indian community as well as friends of India in Amman and Jerusalem.

I thank my hosts in Jordan, Palestine and Israel for the warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation. These visits have helped deepen our mutually beneficial relations. I return with the conviction that the governments of all the three countries are keen to take relations with India to much higher levels. India will actively work towards enhancing our partnership with Jordan, Palestine and Israel in the days to come”. 

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Acceptance speech by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at Hebrew University

Jerusalem, Israel : 16.10.2015 
Chairman of the Board of Governors, Mr. Michael Federmann
President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Prof. Menahem Ben Sasson
Rector of the Hebrew University, Prof. Asher Cohen

H’ble Members of the Senate of Hebrew University of Jerusalem,

Members of the Faculty and

Distinguished members of the academic community of this ancient University,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1.         I am delighted to visit the Hebrew University and be amidst you today. It is indeed a great honour for me to be the first Indian President to make a State Visit to Israel. Since my arrival, I have been touched by the warmth and friendly sentiments of the people of Israel.

2.         I would like to express my gratitude to the Hebrew University for honouring me today with the Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa.
                                                                                                                                           
3.         I greatly value this gesture of friendship. I, therefore, accept this doctorate as the President of India, on behalf of the people of India. It gives me great pleasure to be associated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel’s second oldest University and one of its largest research and teaching institutions.  I am aware of its magnificent libraries and their famed collections of manuscripts and ancient publications on Jewish thought and culture. I hope to someday have the opportunity to see some of these as well as the Albert Einstein Archives preserved here.

Friends,

4.         India attaches great importance to its friendship and partnership with the people of Israel. Our earliest linkages date back more than two thousand years. As you may be aware, India has a significant Jewish population descended from Jewish communities who came to India as far back as 175 BC. Hebrew has been taught as a subject in our educational institutions long before the State of Israel was established.

5.         In modern times, our two peoples seem to have naturally revived these old affinities and embarked on a path of cooperation that has evolved into a close and multi-faceted partnership between our two nations.

6.         As young nations with an ancient history, both India and Israel seek to develop and progress as knowledge economies. In the 20 years since we normalised relations, we have developed a close partnership in key sectors of defence, agriculture, cyber security and advanced technology.

7.         I come at a time when India is at the threshold of a new era of modernisation and economic growth. Our Government has taken a number of initiatives to encourage foreign direct investments and stimulate the  manufacturing sector of the Indian economy. The ‘Make in India’, and the ‘Jan Dhan Yojna’ for financial inclusion are two of many new initiatives undertaken by our Government.

8.         With Israel, India has a number of complementarities in many key sectors. We are keen to realise the full potential of a partnership between our scientists and researchers. Both our academic communities have much to bring to the table.  Eminent Vice Chancellors of premier Indian Universities have accompanied me on this visit to explore and pursue possible collaborations with counterpart universities in areas of shared interest. They hope to foster mutually beneficial academic exchanges, collaborative research and cross pollination of ideas between Indian and Israeli institutions of higher learning. India trains nearly 400,000 engineers every year. Israel, on its part, has proven itself in the field of research and technical innovation. India seeks Israel’s participation in our Digital India programme and the building of India’s smart cities and model villages. Your ideas and innovations could go a long way in achieving the goals of these flagship programmes of our Government. I invite you all to participate in the transformation of India.

9.         Many of you may have travelled to India and some of you may be contemplating a visit. Travel itself is an educative and enriching experience. Our Government has selected Israel among the few countries to which it has extended the e-tourist visa facility. We do believe that increased exchanges at multiple levels will enhance the mutual understanding between our peoples. At the Knesset yesterday, I stressed the importance of institutionalising regular exchanges between our elected representatives. I am accompanied by the H’ble Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr. Thaawar Chand Gehlot and a multi party delegation of H’ble Members of the Indian Parliament. They join me in inviting you to visit India and contribute to the strengthening of the friendship between our peoples.


With these words, Mr. President, I thank you once again.

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Hebrew University Confers Honorary Doctorate on President

President Calls upon Israeli Scientists and Researchers to Participate in the Transformation of India 
Hebrew University conferred Honorary Doctorate on President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday (October 15, 2015) at a ceremony held in Jerusalem, Israel.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said he accepts the doctorate as the President of India, on behalf of the people of India. It gives him great pleasure to be associated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, one of Israel's largest research and teaching institutions.

The President said India has a number of complementarities with India in many key sectors. India is keen to realise the full potential of a partnership between scientists and researchers of the two countries. Both our academic communities have much to bring to the table. India trains nearly 400,000 engineers every year. Israel, on its part, has proven itself in the field of research and technical innovation. India seeks Israel’s participation in its Digital India programme and the building of India’s smart cities and model villages. Ideas and innovations of Israeli scientists and researchers could go a long way in helping us achieve the goals of these flagship programmes of Government of India. He called upon Israeli scientists and researchers to participate in the transformation of India. 


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