NEW DELHI: The importance of India-Israel relations grew even further with the changing global scenario, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday, even as the opposition parties sharpened attack on his government for allegedly buying the Pegasus spyware from the NSO Group Technologies based in the Jewish nation in West Asia.
'Today, when the world is witnessing important changes, the importance of India-Israel relations has increased even more,' Modi said in a video message on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Israel. 'I am fully confident that the India-Israel friendship will achieve new milestones in mutual cooperation in the coming decades,' the Prime Minister added.
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The two nations celebrated the anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations on a day the New York Times reported that the Government of India had bought the spyware called Pegasus from Israeli company NSO Group Technologies in July 2017 in order to carry out targeted surveillance on citizens. The investigative report by the New York Times triggered a political storm in India, with the opposition parties accusing the Modi Government that it had misled Parliament and the Supreme Court by denying its purchase of the spyware.
The Modi Government had last year dismissed the allegation that it had used Pegasus for snooping on journalists, activists and politicians.
There cannot be a better opportunity than now for setting new targets for mutual cooperation between the two nations, when India is celebrating 75 years of its Independence and Israel will do so next year and they are also observing 30th anniversary of establishment of their diplomatic ties, the Prime Minister said.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also delivered a video message on the occasion. He said that India and Israel shared much in common. He said that the ties between the two nations were strong and would together grow stronger.
Several monuments in India and Israel were lit up on the occasion.