There is much symbolism, without doubt, attached to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s decision that India may begin its diplomatic calendar for 2012 with a historic visit by the External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna to israel. The fact is that diplomatic calendar is set with care and circumspection by all serious countries and MS’s aides can’t claim this visit to be ‘routine’.
I say this, because a foreign-minister level visit is never ‘routine’; it is a landmark. It will be after a gap of a decade that a visit at the level of EAM to Israel is being undertaken. PM’s aides should have introspected why such a 10-year gap was allowed in the first instance in the India-Isreal intercourse at the political level. More pertinently, why punctuate that gap next week? Why such timing? What has changed?
Israel of course will be delighted. In its strong demarche to the United States to punish countries that trade in oil with Iran, Israel has reportedly pleaded for an exemption for India, which depends heavily on Iran’s ’sweet oil’ for making its fertiliser. Israel also reportedly made an offer to India to sell LNG to India in the fulness of time when the massive natural gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean bordering the Levant are finally tapped — perhaps, Indian corporate houses can also invest in Israel’s LNG venture.
Krishna can indeed thank the Israelis for all this generosity — on behalf of the country. But it can be conveyed to the Israeli ambassador in Delhi. The incomprehensible thing about the timing of Krishna’s visit is that 2012 is the year that israel might choose to have a military conflict with Iran. The well-known investigative reporter Gareth Porter wrote an insightful report just this week that he sees an israeli attack on Iran in the first half of 2012.
Of course, happily, the Uttar Pradesh state assembly elections may be over by the time Israel attacks Iran and Congress Party may not have to worry anymore about the so-called Muslim opinion in India. But that isn’t the point. What about the big message India is going to convey to the Middle East and the international community? Someone should bring Porter’s report to Krishna’s attention.
Maybe, Krishna could have a last word with PM whether he should carry the stigma of undertaking this ‘historic’ visit. In all probability, PM who juggles many balls in the air, including American balls, might insist that his top diplomat should undertake this visit to israel. But it shouldn’t turn out to be that Krishna who is an old Congress leader didn’t try.
At the very least, before emplaining for Israel on Monday, Krishna should insist on obtaining a categorical undertaking from Israel that it will not violate international law and the UN Charter and undertake aggression against a country with which India claims ‘civilisational ties’, after all.
Too much blood has been spilt in the Muslim Middle East since 2003. India shouldn’t be seen wading into this river of blood, leave alone be seen with with the perpetrators of this horrendous happening in human history. The heart of the matter is that for ensuring ‘Israel’s security’, US massacred over a million Iraqis. A war with Iran is being contemplated for the very same purpose — ‘Israel’s security’. Gareth Porter’s report is here