Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Israel India Relationship Was Better Under BJP : ISRAEL

Lamenting the lack of high-level visits from India under the UPA government, senior officials at the Israeli foreign ministry told US diplomats that it was "better under the Bhartiya Janata Party government", according to a classified US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.

Despite burgeoning defence and trade ties, "Israel is concerned about the lack of high-level visits and other exchanges with India. The last visit by an Indian Foreign Minister was in 2000, with a November 2007 visit called off at the last minute," deputy Director general for Asia and Pacific at Israel's foreign ministry Ruth Kahanoff told US diplomats.

"Kahanoff believes that India is restrained in the relationship (with Israel) by its large Muslim population, their concern about relations with the Arab world, and lingering elements of the Non-Aligned Movement/Nehru ideology," the US embassy cable revealed by WikiLeaks said.

Giora Bacher, Director at Israel's foreign ministry Asia and Pacific Desk, also attending the meeting, added that the "visits were actually better under the Bharatiya Janata Party government".

Kahanov also pointed out to US political counsellor Marc Sievers and others present during the December 2007 meeting that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited India in 2003, but no Indian Prime Minister has ever come to Israel.

He also complained about Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari giving a speech attacking Israel, which she saw "as a sign that India is still trying to find its place in the world".

Bacher told US officials that her country's current relationship with India is dominated by defence cooperation and other trade.

The Israeli official noted that initially 95 per cent of the bilateral trade between the two countries was in diamonds, but it is now down to 70 per cent, and there is significant investment in real estate and businesses on both sides as both the countries' economy continue to liberalise.

Kahanoff also stressed on the opening of a branch of the State Bank of India in Israel to support its investors.

(source PTI)