New Delhi, February 19: Israel on Thursday expressed hope that India could act as a “bridge” between Tel Aviv and “hostile” countries in the Middle East. Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon, giving a talk here, also said that the “sky is the limit” to enhancing cooperation with India in every field, including in their “behind the scenes” security cooperation. To a question on what kind of role Israel sees India playing in fostering peace in the Middle East, the Israeli defence minister said: “We hope in certain cases India may be a bridge between Israel and countries which are hostile to us; and we hope we will find a way in future to achieve peace even by Indian assistance.”
Asked about Israel’s increasing relations with Chi and if it would not come in the way of ties with India, Ya’alon said: “Israel is not allowed to enhance security relations with Chi because of US interests. And Israel is ready to enhance relations with counties as long as they are not hostile to our country and is not against any third party.” Ya’alon, the first Israeli defence minister to pay an official visit to India since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1992, also said that his country is “ready to share knowledge and Israeli technology with friends and partners” as with India. Ya’alon, who met Prime Minister rendra Modi earlier in the day, also slammed Iran and blamed it for all the turmoil in the Middle East.
The Israeli defence minister, who was in Bangalore Wednesday to attend the Aero India Show, said that in his talks with the Indian leadership he had discussed on ways to upgrade the relationship in order to share more experience and technology. Delivering his talk on Israel-India Partnership in the 21st century, the minister said that the “sky is the limit” to enhancing cooperation with India in every field, including in their “behind the scenes” security cooperation. In his talk as part of the R.K. Mishra Memorial Lecture, a large section of which he used to discuss the tense situation in Israel’s neighbourhood and was unsparing in his criticism of Iran, the minister said he felt privileged to be in India on his first official visit as defence minister. The talk was organised by the Observer Research Foundation. He said both sides share common values and interests and have “found a way to cooperate even behind the scenes when it comes to security”. He said during his visit to the Aero India Show in Bengaluru, he was able to witness the products of the India-Israel joint collaboration and joint ventures. He said Israel is keen to discuss the best way possible to implement Prime Minister rendra Modi’s initiative of Make in India”. In the area of security cooperation, he said Israel is ready to “offer whatever can be offered to meet the Indian needs. “He said Israel is living in a tough neighbourhood with chronic instability.” Slamming Iran, he accused Tehran of being behind the turmoil in the Middle East. “We can say today that we have an Iranian regime in Tehran, Iranian intervention in Damascus, Baghdad, Beirut and Sa’, and they are also supporting Palestine to fight us.” He also said Israel is against a nuclear deal between Iran and the P 5 plus One countries. “It is going to be a bad deal, and no deal is better than a bad deal.” Earlier, Prime Minister Modi during their meeting expressed satisfaction with the ongoing cooperation between both countries. Modi also recalled his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last September. (IANS)