Israel and India celebrated 30 years of diplomatic relations on Saturday, with each country lighting up historic sites and special video addresses by their leaders.

Israel-India ties were formalized on Jan. 29, 1992. Since then, the countries have been working together on initiatives ranging from agriculture and high-tech to security.

“India and Israel have a gehri dosti [deep friendship],” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Saturday evening. “Today we honor 30 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and India, 30 years of a wonderful partnership, a deep cultural connection, military and economic cooperation.”

He thanked Modi for his leadership and noted that although India is much larger than Israel, the two states have much in common: “A rich history, inherent warmth of our peoples and our cutting-edge innovation and technology. The ties between Israel and India are strong and together they will only grow stronger. The opportunities are endless.”

Modi spoke in Hindi, but his speech was widely translated into English by the local India press.

The prime minister said that while the establishment of formal ties 30 years ago marked a new chapter in Israel-India relations, the “history between us is age-old.”

He said that “for centuries, the [Jewish[ community has stayed in India in a harmonious environment without any discrimination, and has grown. It has made an important contribution in our developmental journey.”

Israel lit up its Masada fortress for the occasion, and India its Teen Murti Haifa Chowk, with a special logo that was designed to commemorate the occasion. The logo features a Star of David and the Ashoka Chakra, together forming the number 30.

Several high-profile visits, including a trip by Bennett to India, are expected to take place this year to mark the occasion.

JNS

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