BJP better for India-Israel relations : Wikileaks

Israel felt that a BJP government showed more enthusiasm in advancing mutual co-operation between India and Israel, compared to the Congress-led UPA government, going by a cable released by Wikileaks.

According to it, the then Deputy Director General for Asia and the Pacific with Isreal foreign ministry, Ruth Kahanoff, felt that the [Congress-led] government was afraid of Muslim and Arab backlash in case of tighter co-operation with Israel, speaking to the Americans in 2007.

Israel — a Jewish state brought into being sixty years ago in Arab land — is considered as a bit of land encroacher by many Islamic countries and Muslims across the World. Unlike the right-of-center BJP, which ruled India for five years from 1998, the Congress gets the support of India’s Muslim population — estimated at around 13% of the total population.

“Kahanoff believes India is restrained in the relationship by its large Muslim population, their concern about relations with the Arab world, and lingering elements of the Non-Aligned Movement/Nehru ideology,” the Tel Aviv (Israel) embassy said in a cable written four years ago.

According to the cable, Israel — one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, especially in weapons — is keener to advance its relationship with India, but found India’s response lukewarm. India has always been keen to get technology and weapons from Israel, but the mutual relationship has always been much below its potential.

“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. [Ariel] Sharon was the last Israeli Prime Minister to visit India, in 2003, and no Indian Prime Minister has ever come to Israel,” the cable noted.

It then went on to note that Giora Becher, director for South East Asia with Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs noted that visits were actually better under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.