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Congress pans Brajesh's call for strategic triad

By Shahid K Abbas in New Delhi
May 10, 2003 22:15 IST
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The Congress on Saturday panned National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra's proposal for an India-United States-Israel axis to counter terrorism.

"We are surprised to note that Mr Brajesh Mishra pleaded for a strategic triad... We are unable to understand as to how Israel has come into the picture," Congress spokesman S Jaipal Reddy said in New Delhi.

"We do not think the national security adviser would have referred to the need for a strategic partnership with Israel without clearance from the prime minister of India [Atal Bihari Vajpayee]," he added.

Soon after the 9/11 attacks in the US, Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani had also floated a similar idea, he said.

"If terrorism is a problem faced by India, that is also a problem faced by Russia. So why only a triad, why not a quartet?

"This obsession with Israel on the part of the NDA [National Democratic Alliance] government is strange and perverse. Such a reference, being made just when Israel is facing international isolation, is an indication of the intellectual insolvency of the NDA government.

"We warn the government against upsetting the consensus that has been built around our time-tested foreign policy."

He said India and Israel did not face the same threats.

"Israel in our view is neither fish nor fowl. Why are we obsessed with Israel? One can think of understanding with major powers like America and Russia. But this obsession with Israel defies our imagination.

"There must be some minimal ideological consensus between the two countries for partnership.

"Nobody is saying we must not have relations with Israel. It is not the same thing as pleading for strategic partnership. The same pet theme of Mr Advani is being resumed."

Asked if he thought Israel was an aggressor in Palestine, Reddy said, "We are not pronouncing ourselves on the Middle East problem. We have always held the view that the Palestinians have been denied their statehood."

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Shahid K Abbas in New Delhi