Terror push in Israel ties
|OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT|
New Delhi, Jan. 10: Foreign minister S.M. Krishna today pressed for deeper counter-terrorism co-operation between India and Israel to “checkmate” the scourge as he wrapped up a visit to the West Asian nation with an assurance of increased ties from his hosts.
Krishna, the first Indian foreign minister to visit Israel in over a decade, said Delhi looked forward to inking a free-trade agreement to increase the volume from the current level of $5 billion.
“The free-trade agreement now under negotiation is a step in the right direction. It will boost our economic and commercial ties,” he said.
The minister, who held talks with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his counterpart Avigdor Lieberman, said the two countries needed to work out a strategy to “checkmate” terror and “ultimately eradicate” it from the “face of the earth”.
The two sides signed an extradition treaty and another on transfer of sentenced prisoners.
While Krishna described Delhi as “a natural ally” of Tel Aviv, Netanyahu said India and Israel were “two ancient peoples, seizing the future, in technology, in innovation, in enterprise”.
“I think we can seize it even better by our co-operation,” he added.
Krishna thanked Israel for its help in agriculture and water management, which has benefited large sections of Indian farmers. He said this co-operation wouldn’t have been possible without the “wealth of goodwill and cultural empathy between the people” of the two countries, “demonstrated most obviously by the large number of Israeli tourists visiting India today”.
But differences persisted on Iran’s alleged nuclear proliferation. Krishna said India’s consistent stand was that all countries, including Iran, had the right to “pursue its nuclear energy ambitions to its logical level”.
“Just like India has exercised the option of resorting to nuclear energy in order to meet its growing energy demands, so is every nation entitled to develop that,” he said, adding that every country had that right “subject to the parameters” set by atomic watchdog IAEA.His counterpart Lieberman said Israel expected the UN Security Council to move forward on sanctions against Iran and every country should abide by those decisions.
Krishna left for Palestine after concluding his two-day trip to Israel