New Delhi: Israel greeted India on friendship day with a Twitter message that featured the song ‘yeh dosti’ from Bollywood blockbuster Sholay, drawing an equally warm response from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who asserted that the bond between the two countries is “strong and eternal”.
“Happy #FriendshipDay2019 India! May our ever strengthening friendship & growing partnership touch greater heights,” the Israeli embassy said in a tweet on Sunday.
The message had the Hindi lyrics “Yeh dosti hum nahin todenge” (We will not break this friendship) of the song from the 1975 movie Sholay, starring Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra and Hema Malini, and emoticons conveying that Israel loves India. It had a short montage on various meetings between Modi and his counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, with the music from the song playing in the background.
Happy #FriendshipDay2019 India!
— Israel in India (@IsraelinIndia) August 4, 2019
Modi responded with a tweet in Hebrew saying India and Israel have proved their friendship over time. “Thank you and wishing a Happy Friendship Day to Israel’s wonderful citizens and my good friend Netanyahu. India and Israel are time tested friends. Our bond is strong and eternal! May the friendship between our nations grow and prosper even more in the times to come!” he said.
מאחל יום חברות שמח לאזרחי ישראל הנהדרים ולידידי הטוב @netanyahu
הודו וישראל הוכיחו את ידידותם לאורך הזמן. הקשר שלנו הוא חזק ונצחי. מאחל שהידידות בין המדינות שלנו תצמח ותפרח אף יותר בעתיד https://t.co/PsZTgMoXMU
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 4, 2019
Both Modi and Netanyahu are known to share a great chemistry, which is visible in bilateral meetings.
Netanyahu, who failed to form a coalition after the April polls, plans to visit India ahead of the repeat elections in September.
Modi visited Israel in July 2017, the first by an Indian prime minister in 70 years. During the historic visit, the warmth between Modi and Netanyahu, also known as Bibi, was apparent.
India’s diplomatic relations with Israel was established decades after the Jews were given the ‘Promised Land’ during PV Narasimha Rao’s era. However, soon thereafter, the bilateral relations grew warmer and Israel gradually became one of the most reliable strategic partners of India. The Indian military, which imported heavily from the USSR/Russia, looked for other sources like France. However, American weapons were exorbitant. India got arms and ammunition of comparable technology at a fraction of that price from Israel.
Nevertheless, as the foreign missions of India are subjects of inertia, we continue to vote in favour of Palestine and against Israel in international forums like the United Nations, embarrassing our ‘friend’ Israel. This hasn’t changed under the regime of Narendra Modi quite unexpectedly.