24 January, 2021

Shalom, Or Is It Salaam?

With the UPA in power, Israel is suddenly unsure of its relations with India

Shalom, Or Is It Salaam?
When the election results signalled a devastating defeat for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the one country distinctly worried was Israel. Voted out was Atal Behari Vajpayee, under whose government Indo-Israeli relations bloomed into a near-alliance.

Israel's nervousness about its future relations with India was reflected in the belated customary congratulatory phone call Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made to his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh. Though the call came nearly a month after Manmohan assumed office, Israeli sources rationalise the delay explaining, "Sharon was very much preoccupied as was the new Indian prime minister. Also, Sharon wanted to update Manmohan on Israel's unilateral disengagement plan in Gaza." Yet, those who know Sharon feel he chose to wait because he wanted to assure himself that he wouldn't be snubbed. Sources say Sharon invited Manmohan to visit Israel.

Scepticism about the UPA government has risen because of the remarks of Indian foreign minister K. Natwar Singh, who was critical of the NDA's propensity to promote Indo-Israeli...


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