Israel has discounted the possibility that Monday’s terror attack on its envoy was to undermine growing ties with India or a backlash for its vigorous efforts to reach out to Indian Muslims, an Israeli diplomat told HT.
“It is pretty clear to us who did this. Iran. But it is extremely important to us that we carry on our work in India,” embassy spokesperson David Goldfarb said. Israel and India are celebrating this year the 20th anniversary of official ties.
Monday’s incident will, however, put to test India’s crucial relationship with Iran. While Israel is India’s second largest supplier of arms, Iran supplies almost 12% of India’s crude, which India said it would continue buying, in defiance of US and EU sanctions.
Israel’s accusation of Iran, however, hasn’t quite come as a breather for local Muslims, who have seen many home-gown terror-related charges land at their door. Striking a cautionary tale, a prominent Muslim leader said the attack could have rather been aimed at thwarting New Delhi’s “good ties with Tehran”.
“If Tehran is found involved, India should act in accordance with laid-down procedures. But India should go by its own evidence,” said Zafarul Islam Khan, editor of Milli Gazette, a community newspaper.
Israel’s New Delhi mission has been persistently engaged in efforts to build bridges with Indian Muslims. In September 2010, former ambassador to India, Mark Sofer, undertook a landmark visit to the Ajmer Sharif Sufi shrine.
“I come here because I know bin Laden is not Islam,” he had said.
Goldfarb reiterated this commitment towards Indian Muslims. But Israel’s job of befriending Muslims, Islam Khan said, was easier said than done.