To my mind, this is an even more serious goof-up than when External Affairs MInister S.M.Krishna read out his Portugese counterpart’s speech in the UN Security Council last February without even comprehending what he was doing. I think the mandarins weren’t careful, again, and EAM has been let down for a second time11 months later.
They should have marked on bold red ink what was strictly for EAM’s knowledge and not to be revealed during his media appearance with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at Tel Aviv following their breakfast meeting on Tuesday. The point is, EAM should never have revealed what he did, namely, that India and Israel propose to intensify their security cooperation. “We will have to work out a strategy as to how we address ourselves to the scourge o international terrorism which has become the curse for the entire humanity. I think our efforts should be to checkmate and ultimately eradicate terrorists from the face of the earth.”
I am sure the above was what EAM was supposed to tell Bibi duirng their tete-e-tete — EAM’s ‘Talking Point’, as South Block calls the folder for VIP visits. Our top guns in South Block wouldn’t have made a goof-up, they are far too professional and endowed with first-hand experience of Israel.
Look what happened. Bibi didn’t say a word when EAM took off in such robust enthusiasm. Because, he knew he had just cleared the file relating to the assassination of an Iranian scientist by Mossad on the streets of Tehran.
Bibi attaches the highest importance to relations with India and he didn’t want to compromise EAM. He knew in his heart of hearts that no sooner than EAM left Tel Aviv, there was going to be blood on the streets of Tehran and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, aged 32, would be no more.
This is why I cautioned earlier that before undertaking this historic visit, South Block should have obtained some sort of reliable assurance about Israel’s conduct as a normal state abiding by international law and UN Charter. The kind of things Israel does to Iran makes it a state sponsoring terrorism — and but for the blanket American diplomatic cover, it would have been brought to book a long time ago already.
Now, how can India claim to be Israel’s collaborator on the terrorism front? It beats my imagination.
No matter the Left parties’ passive acquiescence with our Israel policy, I think there is still a strong case intrinsically, without putting on ideological blinkers, to streamline India’s relationship with Israel and divest it of sentimentality. Okay, if we get American military technology via Israel that US cannot hand over to us directly. It helps our military’s modernisation, after all. Okay, if we learn more about drip irrigation from Israel — we have a crisis in the agriculture sector. Okay, if we learn about animal husbandry from Israel — our cattle class needs a better deal.
Let trade flourish and reach the target of 15 billion dollars. Let there be cooperation In the field of IT. Let us intensify cultural intercourse between the two ancient peoples. We will be doing a great favour already to Israel by mitigating its isolation east of Sinai. But to mix up the relationship with the romance over terrorism (read militant Islam) is asking for trouble.
EAM could simply replace the Portugese FM’s speech with his own and carry on at Turtle Bay. But in this case it isn’t so easy to swallow what he said on Tuesday. There is a saying, ‘Tell me your friend, I know who you are’.
– January 11, 2012