Pak media on Modi’s Israel visit: Need to checkmate India’s aggressive moves

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s groundbreaking visit to Israel is being viewed with suspicion by the Pakistani media, with some commentators saying it is aimed at countering Pakistan’s military strength.

world Updated: Jul 05, 2017 00:08 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
India-Israel relations,Prime Minister Modi's visit to Israel,Modi in Israel
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Palam airport in Delhi on Tuesday before leaving for Israel. This is the first-ever visit by an Indian prime minister to Israel. (PTI)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel is being viewed with suspicion by the Pakistani media, with some commentators saying the exercise is aimed at countering Pakistan’s military strength.

Though several TV news channels have focussed on the visit, most English and Urdu newspapers reported on it only briefly in their Tuesday editions. Pakistan does not recognise the state of Israel.

The influential Dawn newspaper used a wire copy for its report headlined “Modi set to become first Indian PM to visit Israel”, while The Express Tribune headlined its report “Modi visit holds special meaning for Indian Jews in Israel”.

Khawar Ghumman, a commentator on Channel 42, referred to what he described as the “nexus” between New Delhi and Tel Aviv and contended the two countries were working against Islamabad.

“This is an old nexus and we know that in the past, Israel has actively worked with India to counter Pakistan,” Ghumman said.

Read | Modi leaves for Jerusalem: Five things that define India-Israel relationship

Security analyst Brig Ghazanfar Ali said there were “similarities between Hindu nationalism and Jewish nationalism”. The meeting of national interests between India and Israel means Pakistan should pay greater attention to the security cooperation between the two countries as this will directly affect Islamabad’s security interests.

At the same time, Ali said Pakistan has to also look at its own national interests and act accordingly.

“At a time when Saudi Arabia is thinking of establishing relations with Israel, Pakistan has to see what is good for its interests in the region,” he said. “We need to check mate India’s aggressive diplomatic moves.”

While the sentiments expressed by Ali are not common, there is a growing debate in Pakistan on how it needs to change its foreign policy parameters to cope with changes in the region, including the Saudi Arabia-Qatar row.

Most Urdu newspapers, which have a larger readership, used wire copies to inform their readers of Modi’s visit, the first by an Indian prime minister to Israel after the two countries established diplomatic relations 25 years ago. However, there was little commentary on the visit in the newspapers, which also did not carry any editorials on the issue.

Opinion | PM Modi’s Israel trip shows India’s mature approach with focus on economic, security gains

Under former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan had established contacts with Israel in 2005 after it withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Pakistan’s then foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri held talks with his Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

Shalom had then described the talks as a “historic meeting” but the two sides were unable to make any headway and the contacts stopped soon after.

First Published: Jul 04, 2017 15:10 IST