‘I want to bring B’wood to Israel, take India seriously’
:The India-Israel relationship has hit a new high in recent times. With Prime Minister Modi becoming the first Indian PM to visit Israel in the last 70 years, relations between the two countries have only grown stronger, emphasised Israel’s Deputy Minister in the PMO Michael Oren. In India on a special visit, Oren spoke to WION about the India-Israel relationship, the situation in West Asia, and just why he is keen to bring Bollywood to his country. Excerpts...
How do you see the India-Israel relationship?
The India-Israel relationship is a special one as we face similar enemies, similar challenges, and we are working towards cooperating and guarding the democratic values and freedoms we both cherish. Economically, if you see our bilateral trade stands at US $5 billion per year. This is expected to rise to over US $ 20 billion over the next three years.
Do you think PM Modi has played a significant part in building this relationship or would you say this was a process and he was part of that process?
I think that India and Israel have grown closer over the years, we have relations now for 25 years and our interests very much dovetail especially in the area of defence. Israel is a major defence partner of India, in its sharing of technology, and joint maneuvers between our armed forces and our navy. We take PM Modi’s ‘Make In India’ initiative very seriously and our major defence technology firms are very active here.
Speaking of industries, there is another industry you are working on — Bollywood. Are you bringing Bollywood to Israel?
I really want to get into Bollywood. I was in Mumbai and met with a number of directors and producers to try to convince them to come and film in Israel. Israel has much to offer the Indian film market, we have got great beaches, mountains, old cities, new cities. We have 100,000 Israelis of Indian ethnicity so we have much to offer.
Coming to your part of the world, there is news in Palestine of reconciliation but the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu calls it bogus, why?
We have lived through this many times. The conditions for this reconciliation are the conditions that Hamas has refused to meet in the past and we are extremely doubtful that they will be able to meet in the future. These are conditions not just by Israel but of the international community. One, they say no to terrorism, two they recognise the state of Israel and three they must accept all previous agreements. All of these terms Hamas has rejected.