A file photo of Narendra Modi with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu begins a six-day visit to India on Sunday Photo: Reuters
A file photo of Narendra Modi with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu begins a six-day visit to India on Sunday Photo: Reuters

India’s Jerusalem vote won’t mar bilateral relations: Israeli ambassador Daniel Carmon

Carmon says issues like India's vote in favour of an Arab resolution against US President Donald Trump's move to recognise Jerusalem as capital would remain a matter for talks through diplomatic channels

New Delhi: Israeli ambassador to India Daniel Carmon on Friday said issues like India’s vote in favour of an Arab resolution against US president Donald Trump’s move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish country would continue to remain a matter for discussion through diplomatic channels but will not mar bilateral relations that have warmed in recent years.

Addressing a press conference days ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India, Carmon also said it was not unusual for India to approach Israel with requests or Israel to appeal to India ahead of votes at the UN.

“There is a lot of importance to votes at the UN," Carmon said.

“The votes at the UN have been on the joint agenda of India and Israel . And they will continue to be... sometimes it is India that comes to Israel with a request and sometimes it is Israel that comes to India with the request...We cannot always fulfil those requests," Carmon said.

A case in point of Israel supporting India was when India wanted its candidate, justice Dalveer Bhandari, elected to the Hague-based International Court of Justice, Carmon said. The election took place in November.

“Israel not only supported the Indian candidate, Israel with four more countries adopted this candidate as its own," Carmon said. “So we had an Israeli candidate who was an Indian judge," he said.

Describing the backdrop of votes at the UN as “dynamic" and the UN itself as “a vibrant theatre where many things are happening," Carmon said “If the question is, will it influence the relationship, I don’t think it can influence the relationship."

“I think the relationship is stronger than one vote here or there," Carmon said adding later: “I am not saying votes at the UN are not important. It will continue to be an issue for discussion between our countries in diplomatic channels."

Bhandari, 70, was declared elected at the ICJ after he received 183 of the 193 votes in the General Assembly and secured all 15 votes in the Security Council.

Last month, India raised many eyebrows at home when it voted for an Arab resolution criticising Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. With the vote happening weeks before Netanyahu’s visit, it took many by surprise that India did not abstain from the vote and went ahead and voted for the resolution.

India has deep links with the Arab countries, with some seven million Indians living and working in the region and countries like the United Arab Emirates being an important source of investments and energy for Asia’s third largest economy. But in the past 25 years since India established diplomatic relations with Israel, New Delhi has developed a multifaceted relationship with the Jewish state spanning defence, agriculture, irrigation and counter terrorism.

Technology and innovation are high on the agenda during Netanyahu’s upcoming visit as well.

“We always want all the international community to vote with us, we are not very happy when some in the international community do not," Carmon said. “The beauty of the discussions is that we are talking, we are talking before, we are talking during and we are talking after and it’s a two-way street," he added.

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