‘I want to bring B’wood to Is­rael, take In­dia se­ri­ously’

DNA (Delhi) - - WORLD - Palki Sharma

: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.

Michael Oren

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