Israel DCM Yoed Magen gave us an unexpectedly downbeat readout of the August 28 visit to Jerusalem by MEA Secretary East Rajiv Sikri, reporting that Sikri appeared SIPDIS more often to be the representative of the Palestinians, rather than India.
39624 9/1/2005 13:22 05 NEWDELHI 6735 Embassy New Delhi SECRET 04 NEWDELHI 7348 "This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.011322Z Sep 05" "S E C R E T NEW DELHI 006735
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/31/2015 TAGS: PREL, IN, IS, India-Israel
SUBJECT: GOI VISITOR DISAPPOINTS ISRAEL
REF: A. 04 NEW DELHI 7348
B. 04 NEW DELHI 7966
Classified By: A/DCM Geoff Pyatt for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)
1. (S) Israel DCM Yoed Magen gave us an unexpectedly downbeat readout of the August 28 visit to Jerusalem by MEA Secretary East Rajiv Sikri, reporting that Sikri appeared SIPDIS more often to be the representative of the Palestinians, rather than India. The Israelis went all out for this visit, supplementing the formal Foreign Office talks (led by Deputy Director-General for Asia and Pacific Amos Nadai) with a call on Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom. Magen reported that Indian Ambassador to Tel Aviv Arun K. Singh seemed shocked by Sikri's unreformed positions on issues like disengagement, adding that the Indian delegation appeared completely unmoved by changes sparked by Arafat's death, the Gaza withdrawal, and strengthened India-Israel ties. ""It was like nothing had changed,"" the Israeli DCM concluded.
2. (S) Because Sikri insisted that the draft joint statement should be datelined Tel Aviv (vice Jerusalem), the Israelis refused to issue any document. Magen also confirmed that the Israeli Embassy had been the source for a recent front page story and editorial in the pro-BJP Pioneer criticizing India for its failure to acknowledge the Gaza withdrawal. The MEA earlier rebuffed the Israeli Embassy when it asked for a statement on Gaza, saying that disengagement was only one step in a long process.
Comment: Profiles in Cowardice
3. (C) The contrast in public approaches between the NDA and UPA government could not be more stark. The continued old-think in MEA (Ref A) clashes with India's proposal during the visit last week of Israel's Chief Scientist Eli Opper to expand the soon-to-be-established USD 2 million per year joint Indo-Israeli R&D fund to USD 25 million. (Note: The fund envisions supporting Indo-Israeli biotech, nanotech, space, water and alternative energy projects. End Note) It also stands in marked contrast to India's expanding defense trade with Israel. The GOI is willing to get down to business with Israel in defense, commercial, and scientific areas (Ref B). However, the foreign policy establishment remains mired firmly in the past as the Congress-led UPA (beholden to India's 130 million Muslims for a chunk of its political support) continues to posture itself as the defender of Palestinian ambitions. The net result of this duplicity is that others have done more with Israel than the UPA.
4. (U) Visit New Delhi's Classified Website: (http//www.state.sgov/p/sa/newdelhi)