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We want strong ties with India: Sharon
September 09, 2003 10:24 IST
Last Updated: September 09, 2003 11:08 IST
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Tuesday said his visit to India would help strengthen bilateral ties and achieve "many things together in many fields".
The Sharon Visit: The Complete Coverage
"We are very much interested in developing and strengthening our relations with India because India is one of the most important countries in the world," he said at a ceremonial reception on the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Warmly welcoming Sharon, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said he was confident that this "historic" visit would further cement ties between India and Israel.
Bringing "greetings" from Jerusalem, the place of the Jewish people for the "last 3,000 years", Sharon thanked Vajpayee for having him as a guest. He also invited the Indian PM to visit Israel.
"We believe in democracy... I hope my visit will contribute to strengthening our relations with India," Sharon said after inspecting the tri-service guard of honour.
"I think this visit will help us to move forward to accomplish all those things that we believe in," Sharon added.
Vajpayee said, "Our ties are old and we are giving a new shape to them. Our friendship will grow further. This is a historic visit and as a result of it, our two countries will come closer."
The two leaders shook hands warmly and posed for photographs.
India and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1992.
Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, several ministers and top military and civilian officials were present at the ceremonial reception.