The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Israel axis proposal draws flak

New Delhi, May 10: Opposition parties today reacted sharply to national security adviser Brajesh Mishra’s proposal for a strategic India-US-Israel partnership to fight international terrorism and warned the BJP-led coalition against upsetting consensus on the country’s foreign policy.

Mishra, now on a visit to the US, had said as targets of international terrorism, democratic nations like India, the US and Israel should form an alliance and develop a multilateral mechanism to combat the scourge.

He said the three countries “have to jointly face the same ugly face of modern-day terrorism”. Such an “alliance”, he added, “would have the political will and moral authority to take bold decisions in extreme cases of terrorist provocation”.

Back home, the proposal evoked strong reactions, with Congress spokesman S. Jaipal Reddy saying the NDA government’s “obsession” with Israel, when it was “facing international isolation”, was “strange and perverse”.

“It shows (the) intellectual insolvency of the NDA government,” Reddy added.

Noting that a strategic partnership with Israel would be “qualitatively different” from that between India and the US, he said Mishra would not have pleaded for such an alliance without prior clearance from Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

He said Mishra’s statement was “not inadvertent” as deputy Prime Minister .K. Advani had also put forward a similar suggestion after the September 11 strikes.

J.. Dixit, a former foreign secretary and now an adviser on security matters to the Congress, said “changing times naturally lead to changing equations with different countries, depending on India’s national interests…”

He pointed out that it was a Congress government which “upgraded relations” with Israel. “However, despite the transformation, India has very deep interests in its relations with Arab countries. Anyway, such matters as axis between countries are not issues for public debate.”

CPM general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet said his party would take up the issue. “They (the NDA government) have completely sold themselves out to the US. It is overturning our foreign policy. It is very dangerous. We are going to take up the issue.”

Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh said: “Mishra should have refrained from making such blatant statements which is against the proclaimed policy of Nam (the Non-aligned Movement).”

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