“Hot pursuit”, or the need to cross over boundaries in pursuit of terror groups, is “one of the ingredients in a new kind of battleground”, says Israel’s Ambassador Daniel Carmon, supporting the Indian Army’s operations earlier this week in which forces were said to have crossed into Myanmar territory to raid Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) camps.
“The international community shouldn’t be cut and dry about what is right as defined only by the [UN] Human Rights Council. They should respect the right of countries to protect their boundaries, their values … because that is the first and foremost responsibility of any government,” Mr. Carmon told The Hindu in an interview, after concerns were raised by Pakistan and Myanmar over the statements.
The Ambassador said Israel and India faced the “same threat” of “asymmetric warfare”, adding, “We are two countries, one of a few that face the same threat: that our soldiers who are assigned to safeguard our national borders are attacked by such terrorism. This is a joint challenge for us.” Mr. Carmon indicated that anti-terror cooperation would be a highlight of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel, expected in the next six months. The Homeland Security Agreement, signed by the UPA government in February 2014, may be enhanced at that time.
While no dates have been set for Mr. Modi’s visit that will make him the first Indian Prime Minister to do so, the Ambassador said next month’s secretary-level meetings in Jerusalem, between Indian and Israeli officials, and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who will visit Israel later this year, will make preparations for it.
Historic visit However, given Mr. Modi’s already-packed travel schedule with foreign travel planned practically every month for the rest of 2015, senior diplomats said the historic visit may even have to be put off till “early 2016” when sources indicate he will travel to Israel, Palestine and Jordan. Mr. Carmon said the visit would be both “historical and monumental” and would serve as “a signal to the bureaucracies and the people of both countries that ties will change”.
Asked if there was any indication from the government that India’s policy of supporting the Palestinian cause and its votes at the U.N. on resolutions criticising Israel’s actions in Gaza were changing, Mr. Carmon said that relations must not be judged by U.N. votes alone. “Look at the other changes, the number of dialogues on different issues, the number of visits being planned, the number of diplomatic meetings, and agreements signed,” he said commending Ms. Swaraj’s statement at a recent press conference on Israel and Palestine.
“I just wish people would take a balanced view like Ms. Swaraj has. India’s commitment to the Palestinian cause should not interfere with its ties with Israel.” Mr. Carmon said Israel now had effective relations with much of the Arab world, strengthened by recent cooperation on their opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, which he said showed that Israel-Palestinian relations are no longer a “zero-sum” game.
Read the full interview >here.