NEW YORK (Nov. 26)
India is “mentally prepared” to review its relationship with Israel but will not be held to any timetable, Prime Minister Narashimha Rao told World Jewish Congress Co-Chairman Isi Leibler at a meeting last week in New Delhi.
According to the WJC, Rao intimated that his country’s longstanding hostility toward Israel was “under review” and that “visible” changes could be expected. But he refused to say when, insisting that India would proceed at its own pace, dictated by its own priorities.
The two countries do not have full diplomatic relations.
“I would like to have heard something more immediate,” Leibler said. “But I am nevertheless encouraged by Mr. Rao’s generally positive and open-minded attitude on the question of relations with Israel,” he added.
He described Rao’s position as “light years ahead of the negativity and hostility displayed by his predecessors.”
Leibler raised several issues, such as India’s continued refusal to establish full, reciprocal diplomatic ties with Israel, its trade boycott of the Jewish state and its continuing support of the 1975 U.N. General Assembly resolution denigrating Zionism as racism.
But a visiting Anti-Defamation League delegation got the same answers when they visited New Delhi three years ago and met with Rao, who was then foreign minister.
“We received the same promises that Isi Leibler received,” Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director, said Tuesday.
“I think the Jewish people are losing their patience with the promises,” Foxman said. “I think it is sad that such a large, democratic nation with such a glorious tradition of freedom keeps itself hostage to Arab and Moslem threats.”