GLASGOW, Scotland — Prime Minister Naftali Bennett had his first meeting with Indian premier Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the UN COP26 climate summit in Glasgow on Tuesday, calling him “the person that restarted the relationship between India and Israel, which is a deep relationship between two unique civilizations.”
“I know it comes from your heart,” said Bennett. “It’s not about interests, it’s about a deep conviction you harbor, and we feel it.”
“You’re the most popular person in Israel,” Bennett said at the outset of their meeting.
“There’s so much we can learn from you, and this is indeed what we seek to do,” Bennett said. “Our goal is to continue the wonderful path that you blazed with my predecessor, and bring it to a whole new level so that we can ensure that the two nations work together.”
In 2022, the two countries will mark 30 years of full diplomatic ties.
In their private meeting, the two leaders discussed security challenges, including the Iranian nuclear program.
In October, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar visited Israel for meetings with senior officials, and conveyed Modi’s invitation to Bennett to visit the south Asian country.
About an hour later, Bennett met with Bahrain’s prime minister, Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
“Everything we see from Bahrain sends such a warm message of friendship,” Bennett told Khalifa as they shook hands.
“We ain’t seen nothing yet,” Bennett continued as Khalifa laughed.
“We must work toward a better future, and that’s what we look forward to doing,” said Khalifa after the two men sat down.
The encounter between the two leaders marks the highest-level public meeting between Israeli and Bahraini officials since the two nations normalized ties last year.
In September, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid traveled to Manama to open Israel’s embassy in Bahrain.
The deal to establish ties with Bahrain was part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords, which also saw Israel normalize ties with the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Morocco.