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Modi’s Israel trip can have ‘serious implications’ for region: Pakistan

Former diplomats and defence analysts in Pakistan are of the view that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit will deepen security and military ties between India and Israel.

world Updated: Jul 05, 2017 15:01 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Benjamin Netanyahu,South Asia,Prime Minister Modi in Israel
Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu embrace after a joint press conference at Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday.(AP)

Pakistan on Wednesday kept a wary eye on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s groundbreaking visit to Israel, with the Foreign Office saying the trip could have “serious implications” as analysts debated the growing defence ties between Tel Aviv and New Delhi.

Former diplomats and defence analysts were of the view the visit would deepen India-Israel defence and military ties, and that deals which were deliberately kept secret in the past would now be discussed more publicly, The Express Tribune reported.

A Foreign Office official told the media that while Pakistan does not formally comment on bilateral visits of others heads of governments and states, it was “closely following Modi’s trip since it can have serious implications for strategic stability in the region”.

Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, an international affairs expert, contended the growing defence cooperation between India and Israel would disturb the strategic balance in South Asia. Israeli assistance could propel India’s missile programme, “undermining Pakistan’s policy of maintaining credible deterrence”, he said.

Former diplomat Ali Sarwar Naqvi claimed the Indian media was “obsessed” with Pakistan and had even dragged the country into Modi’s visit to Israel. He said: “No matter where Modi goes, India always tries to drag Pakistan along.”

Naqvi expressed scepticism at Israel going “too far” to appease India. “Pakistan is not under the immediate radar of Israel. Their (Israel’s) priority at the moment is the Middle East,” he said.

However, defence analyst Lt Gen (retired) Amjad Shoaib said the “ever-growing” relationship between Israel and India was a lesson for Pakistan. “India got access to some of the most modern defence technologies of America through Israel,” he was quoted as saying by the media.

“If India can cement ties with Israel while at the same time maintaining diplomatic ties with its enemy Iran, why can’t Pakistan also show flexibility in its foreign policy,” he said.

The theme of opening channels of communication with Israel has become a topic of discussion in Pakistan. Some analysts have advocated maintaining a working relationship with Israel — if not establishing full diplomatic ties — to further and protect Pakistan’s interests.

Pakistan does not recognise the state of Israel. In 2005, during former president Pervez Musharraf’s tenure, the two countries established contacts and their foreign ministers met in Turkey. However, the countries have not made any headway since.

First Published: Jul 05, 2017 13:18 IST