Ties with Israel not at Palestinians’ expense: India
NEW DELHI: Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh said on Tuesday that relations with Israel would not come at the cost of ignoring Palestinian aspirations, indicating a policy shift in warming ties with Israel.
“We value our relations with the government of Israel. But our relations with Israel will not be at the expense of sacrificing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people,” Mr Singh told reporters in his first major press conference after taking over last month.
He said he and Sonia Gandhi, the President of the Congress party, had reminded Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon during his 2003 visit that “our ties with Palestine preceded our independence.”
The government of Atal Behari Vajpayee, ousted in elections last month, strengthened diplomatic and military ties with Israel — often raising concerns in Pakistan.
Israel is now an important arms supplier to India. On March 5, Israel made its biggest-ever military sale, when it signed a $ 1.1 billion deal for the supply of three advanced early warning systems to India. The deal is for the PHALCON, a competitor to the US-made Airborne Warning and Control System. ap