Prime Minister Narendra Modi today thanked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he is to host on a day-long state visit next month, for his message on International Friendship Day, declaring that the relationship between India and Israel was "strong and eternal".
"Thank you for a happy corporate day for wonderful citizens of Israel and my good friends @netanyahu India and Israel have proved their friendship over time. Our relationship is strong and eternal. Wish friendship between our countries grow and bloom even more in the future," PM Modi wrote in Hebrew.
Earlier today, the Israeli embassy in India posted a message on its Twitter feed, that was accompanied by a fragment of lyric from a popular song from the 1975 Bollywood hit movie "Sholay", starring Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra and Hema Malini.
"Yeh dosti hum nahin todenge (We will not break this friendship)," the message said.
"May our ever strengthening friendship & growing partnership touch greater heights," the message continued. It also had a selection of images in which the leaders are seen shaking hands and embracing each other, including the famous photo of them at a beach
Last month Prime Minister Modi made a surprise cameo in his Israeli counterpart's re-election campaign. A large election advertisement banner, featuring PM Modi shaking hands with PM Netanyahu, was draped outside a building in Tel Aviv.
PM Netanyahu, who is the longest serving Israeli Prime Minister, is to visit India in September, only eight days before unprecedented repeat polls in his country. In May, the Israeli parliament voted to hold a repeat election after the Prime Minister failed to form a coalition government.
Critics of PM Netanyahu have argued that the all-too-brief meeting with PM Modi is an effort to build up his campaign ahead of the repeat election, by positioning him on the same level as some of the world's top leaders. The Israeli Prime Minister's campaign has been hit by corruption charges brought against him by state prosecution, and falling support for his ruling Likud party.
The two Prime Ministers are seen by many as sharing a close personal relationship; images of PM Netanyahu and PM Modi hitching up their trousers and strolling on a beach in northern Israel in 2017, during the Indian Prime Minister's maiden visit to that country, went viral at the time.
PM Modi's 2017 visit, which marked 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, led to 12 Strategic Business MoUs worth over $4.3 billion being signed.
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