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Krishna to begin New Year with Israel, Palestine visit

New Delhi is beginning its foreign policy initiatives in the New Year on a west Asia note. Jayanth Jacob reports.

delhi Updated: Jan 02, 2012 01:28 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times

New Delhi is beginning its foreign policy initiatives in the New Year on a west Asia note.

External affairs minister SM Krishna is set to meet top leaders of both Israel and Palestine. The Israel-Palestine conflict has political resonance in India.

Krishna's visit to Israel involves high-stakes. It was in 2000 that an Indian external affairs minister — Jaswant Singh — visited Israel.

Krishna’s two-day trip is expected to give a fresh fillip in the areas of security, defence and counter-terrorism. A host of other issues will be discussed. During his visit on January 9 and 10, both sides will also review the progress of the ongoing negotiations for a free trade agreement.

Agriculture has also been identified as a major area of cooperation. In the past few years, many high-level exchanges in the field of agriculture have taken place.

Krishna will meet PM Benjamin Netanyahu and will have discussion at length with foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman.

He will also meet the Palestine leadership, including Palestine national authority president Mahmoud Abbas. The meetings in Ramallah are expected to be held after his interactions with the Israeli leadership.

India has been maintaining a delicate balance in its ties with Israel and Palestine that also has domestic implications. While its ties have been growing with Israel, India has also been steadfast in its support for a united state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital "within secure and recognised borders side by side and at peace with Israel."

Addressing the United Nations general assembly last year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had spoken of welcoming Palestine as an equal member of the UN.

“Indian support for the Palestine cause is well known and is independent of its ties with Israel. We maintain that for peace and security it is necessary that direct talks between Israel and Palestine resume without any further delay," said a senior government official.

First Published: Jan 01, 2012 23:03 IST