‘Indo-Israel relations go beyond defence’



Kolkata: Relations between India and Israel go beyond defence and there is compatibility to deal with the future challenges, Israel's Ambassador to India Alon Ushpiz said on Friday.

"India-Israel relations go way beyond defence. Both countries share moral set of values, believe in democracy and freedom of speech and a history of political leadership that we have been able to do together", Ushpiz told a news agency in an interview when asked what was the key factor in bringing the two countries so close to each other.

"The relation goes way beyond any specific field of cooperation rather than only defence. There is something in our brains and most importantly, the chemistry between people of the two nations", Ushpiz said.

"Very importantly, the history of what we have been able to do together is in a way a reflection of the very impressive ability of political leadership of both countries for many years to look towards the future and see what we have to do together, what are the important challenges not of today or tomorrow, but five and ten years from now", the Ambassador said.

"In that, last upon least, comes this very important layer or dimension of compatibility between India and Israel when it comes to problems and challenges on the one hand and solutions on the other", he said.

Asked about specific defence deals between the two countries, Ushpiz said "We do not discuss them in the public domain. We do not discuss deals", he said.

Beyond defence, there are issues like agriculture, water, food and energy security which would play a dominant role between the relations between the two countries, he said.

Asked to comment on how he sees the Palestine conflict, Ushpiz said "it is something that the people and the government of Israel would like to resolve".

"There is a two-stage solution. One a Palestinian state and the Jewish state of Israel living side by side in peace and security", he said.

"The road that can lead to this outcome is only by through peaceful and direct negotiations. It can come from outside as an enforced solution. What the Palestinians are doing right now will only lead to a deadlock", Ushpiz said.

Talking about the ongoing negotiations on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and Israel, he said that there were some obstacles for which some time is being taken.

"FTA negotiations are complicated and covers a wide spectrum of economic activities. The list of items which will be part of the pact are now being discussed. It is a huge list", the envoy said.

"I truly hope that in the next couple of months, the negotiations will be finalised", he said.

"The proposed FTA will be an economic game changer and bilateral trade will rise three-fold", Ushpiz said.

PTI