Voicing India’s “distress” at the continuing violence in West Asia, President Pranab Mukherjee today called for a peaceful resolution of all disputes to which the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by affirming that his country wanted to co-exist with Arabs but would firmly fight terrorism.
Mukherjee, the first Indian President to visit Israel, made a reference to the current violence in the region which has resulted in heavy Palestinian and Israeli casualties, during remarks he made at the Israeli Presidency where he was accorded a ceremonial reception by his Israeli counterpart, Reuven Rivlin.
He said, “we are distressed at the recent violence. India condemns all forms of terrorism. We have always advocated a peaceful resolution of all disputes”.
Rivlin, in his response, said that India and Israel were “making history” by working together in a variety of fields and also in keeping “our peoples safe in the face of terrorism and fundamentalism”.
Mukherjee, who has been criticised by the Israeli media for not mentioning Palestinian “terrorism” during his stay in Palestine prior to coming here, later told Knesset, the Israeli parliament, that India believed that there is no better option than to resolve issues through negotiations and peaceful dialogue.
Speaking after the Indian leader at the Knesset, Netanyahu, in forthright remarks, underlined that both India and Israel were victims of terror which they have been fighting for years together as well as separately. He made a reference to the Mumbai terror attack in which a Chabad house was also attacked.
Netanyahu spoke of the strong challenges created by extremist Islamist groups, such as ISIS, and asserted “we should tell extremists–it is enough”. Israel wanted peace but would stand upto terror which had to be defeated.
Mukherjee, the first Indian President to visit Israel, addressed Knesset during an hour-long session attended by his Israeli counterpart, Reuven Rivlin, Netanyahu and members from various parties. He was given a standing ovation by the House.