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India No Longer Shy of Calling Itself Friend of Israel, Says In-Charge of BJP's Foreign Affairs Dept

Netanyahu's visit would be happening almost 15 years after the first visit by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to New Delhi in 2003. Chauthaiwale added that the diplomatic trips are in progression of Modi’s doctrine.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:December 31, 2017, 3:18 PM IST
India No Longer Shy of Calling Itself Friend of Israel, Says In-Charge of BJP's Foreign Affairs Dept
File photo of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Reuters)

New Delhi: India is no longer shy of calling itself a friend of Israel, the BJP’s Foreign Affairs Department in-charge said ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India in January 2018.

“The 10 years of UPA government had frozen the ties. But now India is no more shy of calling itself a friend of Israel,” Vijay Chauthaiwale told News18.com.

The reason why the ties were frozen in the UPA rule concerned with “domestic issues” and “historical baggage of the Cold War, he said.

“They (UPA) were skeptical that strengthening ties with Israel would make them lose domestic support of minorities. It did not go further. Also there was a historical baggage of the Cold War era. The Non-Alignment Movement was a necessity of Cold War, but the Cold War has ended. Every country is now dealing with every other country,” he said.

He added that PM Narendra Modi, who had visited Israel in July, has “de-hyphenated relations” with Israel and Palestine. “We are dealing with Israel on a separate note which is not linked with Palestine and vice-versa. We are in a position to do so as we have good relations with all Islamic countries as well as with Israel.”

The nature of relations with Israel has also changed, he said. “Earlier it (ties) was concerned with cyber security, defense. We are now going beyond and covering cooperation in innovation, agriculture, water conservation etc,” he said.

On the recent controversy over Palestine ambassador to Pakistan, Walid Abu Ali, sharing the stage with 26/11 attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, Chauthaiwale said it was “just once case, but still unacceptable”.

“That was just one case, but unacceptable to us to see someone from Palestine share dais with someone India has branded a terrorist.”

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| Edited by: Puja Menon
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