Israeli minister discusses security with India

NEW DELHI: Visiting senior Israeli minister Uzi Landau today said that he had expressed his country\'s concerns, including those related to security, to Indian leadership and had been listened

Published: 22nd February 2012 11:31 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:01 PM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: Visiting senior Israeli minister Uzi Landau today said that he had expressed his country's concerns, including those related to security, to Indian leadership and had been listened to "very attentively".

The right-wing minister, whose visit came over a week after the bomb attack on an Israeli diplomat in the capital, claimed Iran was a sponsor of terrorism and blamed it for the Delhi blast.

Asked whether he had discussed these issues with India, Landau, who holds the portfolio of National Infrastructure, told reporters that he felt "people" understood his point of view.

"I would say in broad terms that we were listened to very attentively. I must say that in most of the meetings, my impression is that people understand us very well," he said.

"I don't think this is generally something that is threatening Israel. If Iran becomes nuclear perhaps immediately Saudi Arabia is going to acquire these capability from Pakistan," he said.

Landau said that then more countries would try to acquire nuclear weapons and said that "the free world everywhere is the target of radicals".

The Israeli minister was asked whether the Indian government had explained its interests or compulsions in continuing a strong relation with Iran.

"We did not go into a discussion on that," Landau said and added that he had not told the Indian government "what to do".

However, Landau said that he had mentioned to his Indian ministers that Israel too had gas deposits.

"I also mentioned the fact that Israel has now energy, a part of natural gas that we found lately. We don't have any oil or coal," he said.

The Israeli minister also said that he was satisfied with the "professionalism" of Indian agencies who were probing the Delhi blast.

"We have mentioned the fact that we are highly impressed with the level of professionalism and commitment by the Indian authorities," Landau said.

He said that though Israel was willing to provide any help needed in the case, seeing the efforts being made by India, it did not seem necessary.

"India itself is suffering from terrorism. I would say India is itself exposed to the same threats that Israel is exposed to and we are both in quite rough neighbourhoods," he said.

"The message in our opinion should be given to terrorists is that it simply doesn't pay off," Landau said.

The minister was asked by journalists about the possibility of Israel attack on Iran.

"The latest position of the President of the United States Mr Obama is that sanctions are now the name of the game but no measure is taken off the table," he replied.

Explaining Israel's aggressive stance towards Iran, Landau said that Iran's leadership was publicly talking about destroying a nation. "Once Iran has nuclear weapons, it will be a different ball game for everybody," he told reporters.

Landau said that his country was interested in developing all round relations with India.


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