India’s Foreign Minister Displays Classic Arab-Israel Juggling in Egypt

 

Since establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel & India in 1992, defense & agriculture have become the main pillars of bilateral engagements, notably among them being the Barak-I missile system for the Indian Navy.

By HERB KEINON

 

India displayed its Mideast juggling this week as the country’s foreign minister said in Egypt Tuesday that India continued to support the Palestinian cause, just days after an Indian naval warship docked at Haifa in what New Delhi said was a sign of the “robust” ties between the two states.

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, during a trip to Egypt on Tuesday, said that “our strong traditional support to the Palestinian cause remains unwavering even as we pursue good relations with Israel.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. – Photo: REUTERS

India displayed its Mideast juggling this week as the country’s foreign minister said in Egypt Tuesday that India continued to support the Palestinian cause, just days after an Indian naval warship docked at Haifa in what New Delhi said was a sign of the “robust” ties between the two states.

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, during a trip to Egypt on Tuesday, said that “our strong traditional support to the Palestinian cause remains unwavering even as we pursue good relations with Israel.”

At a speech to the Egyptian Council for Foreign Relations, Swaraj was quoted in the Indian Express as saying that India has “strong interests in the Arab world and have been strongly committed to its various causes. We have been supportive of your aspirations regarding the resolution of the Palestine-Israel issue.”

Swaraj is expected to visit Israel by the end of the year, as is Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, whose visit would be the first ever of an Indian president to Israel. He is also expected to visit the Palestinian Authority and Jordan on the same trip. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit in the first half of 2016, making the first such visit to Israel by an Indian prime minister.

Swaraj’s statement in Cairo comes after India broke with its traditional voting pattern in the UN, and on two different occasions over the summer abstained on anti-Israel votes at the UN, rather than voting for them as it has traditionally done in the past.

While Swaraj stressed in Cairo that India’s support for the Palestinian cause has not weakened, the Indian Ministry of Defense, in an announcement last Wednesday trumpeting the docking in Haifa that day of the INS Trikand, a ”frontline warship of the Indian Navy,” said the port call was aimed at “bolstering the robust ties between Israel and India.”

The statement said that “extensive engagements” with the Israeli navy were to take place during the port call. The last time an Indian warship paid a port call in Haifa was in 2012 The ship’s visit was part of the Indian Navy’s mission of building ‘bridges of friendship’ and strengthening international cooperation with friendly countries,” the statement said.

Since establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations in 1992, the communique continued, “bilateral interactions between India and Israel have seen rapid growth across a broad spectrum. The bilateral relationship has thrived on the common principles of democracy, liberal outlook and similar strengths of the knowledge industry. Within this conducive environment of warmth friendship, Defence and agriculture have become the main pillars of bilateral engagements. India has acquired critical defence technologies from Israel, notable among them being the Barak-I missile system for the Indian Navy.”

Further underlining the cooperation between the two navies is the current three-day visit to India by OC Israel Navy R.-Adm. Ram Rutberg.

 

View original The Jerusalem Post publication at:
http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Within-week-India-restates-support-for-Palestinians-docks-warship-at-Haifa-to-stress-Israel-ties-413374

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