Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Upswing in relations with Israel
Mark Sofer, Israel’s Ambassador to India, is returning home after completing his tenure. During the four years he has spent in India, our bilateral relations with Israel have grown and branched into new areas of mutually beneficial cooperation
Four years after he arrived in India as Israel’s Ambassador, Mr Mark Sofer returns to his country, leaving behind a large number of friends and well-wishers and carrying with him happy memories of his stay here. During these four years India-Israel relations have gathered speed and branched into new areas of cooperation that are mutually beneficial. There has been a quantum leap in bilateral trade. Once the Free Trade Agreement is inked, hopefully by the end of 2011, trade could treble in a couple of years.
“I am returning to Israel with a great deal of optimism about our relations with India,” Mr Sofer told me when we met recently. “There are two reasons why I say this. First, there is tremendous goodwill across India towards the state of Israel. This goodwill is not just something that is spoken about, it is actually felt. Similarly, there is tremendous goodwill in Israel for India. Second, there is something special about India: It is the complete and utter lack of anti-Semitism. There is no a priori negative reaction towards Jews,” he said by way of elaboration.
To read excerpts from my conversation with Mark Sofer, click here.