Rao faced opposition from Cong on relations with Israel: Advani

Senior BJP leader LK Advani said former prime minister PV Narasimha Rao had faced opposition from his Congress colleagues on establishing diplomatic relations with Israel as they feared this would affect their minority votebank.

Updated: May 22, 2011, 13:22 PM IST

New Delhi: Senior BJP leader LK Advani
on Sunday said former prime minister PV Narasimha Rao had faced
opposition from his Congress colleagues on establishing
diplomatic relations with Israel as they feared this would
affect their minority votebank.

In his latest blog posting, Advani praised Rao for
establishing relations with Israel which was "fortified
immensely during the six years of Vajpayee`s NDA regime”.

Advani recalled his visit to the US in 1992 when the
Jews there asked him why India had not yet established full
diplomatic relations with Israel.

"My party is fully in favour of full normalisation of
relations with Israel. But we are not in power. The Congress
party, which has been in power for the longest period since
Independence, is opposed to it, and so are the Communist
parties," Advani had then told the Jewish group.

Upon his return to India, Advani met Prime Minister
Rao and discussed this issue. He asked why India was not
establishing full diplomatic relations with Israel.

"I am all for it, but my party is not ready," Advani
quoted Rao as saying.

Advani said he tried convincing Rao, saying India`s
policy towards Israel should not be "trapped in this imaginary
apprehension over the reaction of some Muslims in India".

"After all several Muslim countries are planning to
open diplomatic relations with Israel. Egypt and Turkey have
already done so. Even Palestinians want to co-exist with
Israel.

"Therefore, if something is in our national interest,
we should explain it to people who may be opposed to it,"
Advani told Rao.

Advani said he suggested that the country`s foreign
policy should be "immune to such false considerations of
domestic pressure".

He claimed that Rao agreed with him and formed a
Group of Ministers to look into the matter and for evolving a
"wider ownership" of such a decision.

The senior BJP leader praised Rao for keeping his
word.

"The GOM made a positive recommendation. Today India
has normal relations with Israel, fortified immensely during
the six years of Vajpayee`s NDA regime," Advani said.

The former deputy prime minister recently played host
to a group of 61 Americans, including Jews, who were visiting
India to meet the Dalai Lama.

"They spent over an hour at our residence, learning
how the BJP had contributed towards making India develop
normal diplomatic relations with Israel," Advani said.

PTI