Israel cautions India against war

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* Envoy says Islamabad, Tel Aviv need to have a relationship, Israel had ‘a lot’ to offer but Pakistan decided to go elsewhere

By Iftikhar Gilani

NEW DELHI: India should exert diplomatic pressure on Pakistan rather than embarking on a military adventure to root out terrorists, Israeli Ambassador to India Mark Sofar said on Saturday, adding that a ‘dilapidated’ Pakistan was neither ‘healthy’ for India nor for the world.

The Israeli ambassador was talking to reporters here. Asked if there was a scope for India to launch a targeted special force attack copying Israeli actions in West Asia, Sofar said New Delhi would have ‘to think very carefully’ before resorting to a military option.

“It will be wrong to take a response of one part of the world to extrapolate immediately to somewhere else,” he said.

On the level of engagement between Israel and Pakistan, the Israeli envoy said though there were no diplomatic relations or a serious engagement between the two countries, there had been occasional contacts between them.

“We have had from time-to-time contacts, here and there with Musharraf, who met, and the previous Pakistani foreign minister who met the previous Israeli foreign minister, but to talk of any meaningful relationship between Israel and Pakistan is really way off the ball and nowhere near where we are,” he added.

Relationship: The Israeli envoy said Islamabad and Tel Aviv needed to have a relationship, as Pakistan was an ‘important country’ in the international community. He said, “Israel had a lot to offer to Pakistan … the decision is in its court and it clearly has decided to go elsewhere.”

Describing the growth of extremism in Pakistan as frightening for the international community as well as pragmatists in Pakistan itself, Sofar called for a global approach to terrorism be that in Pakistan, Afghanistan or Iraq.

He said Pakistan itself was a victim of terrorism and due to its internal instability dangerous elements were coming out and attacking elsewhere. Similar situations exist in other countries from Afghanistan through to the Gulf, he added.\12\14\story_14-12-2008_pg7_11

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