Visits by Indian leaders better under BJP: Israel

Lamenting the lack of high-level visits from India under the UPA govt, officials at the Israeli foreign ministry told US diplomats that it was `better under the BJP govt`.

Updated: Jun 14, 2011, 18:14 PM IST

Jerusalem: 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.

PTI