India should not dilute stand on Arab causes: Syria

June 17th, 2008 - 8:39 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Syria, the chair of the six-nation Arab League, made it clear Monday that India’s growing ties with Israel should not be used “as an excuse” to dilute New Delhi’s traditional support for Palestine and other Arab causes. It wanted India to use its good relations with Israel to play a “much bigger role” to resolve the crises in West Asia and bring durable peace to the region.

“We are aware of the growing ties between India and Israel, particularly in the military and strategic areas. But we are not worried about that,” Bouthaina Shaaban, Syrian minister of expatriates told IANS ahead of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s five-day state visit to India from Tuesday.

“We want India to play a much bigger role in West Asia and use its influence over Israel to bring durable peace in the region.”

She said India was a democracy which has played an exemplary role in the last six decades and been an inspiration for most of the countries in the Arab world.

“But we know India also has its own interest. We value the Indian support for Arab rights and their justified causes.”

The Syrian minister said as long as India could balance its relations with Israel and its traditional links with the Arab world there was no problem.

“But its growing ties with Israel should not be used as an excuse to dilute its stand on the Palestine or the Arab’s rights.”

India’s growing ties with Israel has been a cause for concern in sections both within and outside the country.

At a meeting organised by the Left parties in the capital Sunday to express solidarity with the Palestinian cause, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat strongly criticised the closeness between New Delhi and Tel Aviv, saying “we have to disentangle from this matrix”.

Shaaban urged India to use its strong ties with Israel to convince the leadership to “stop its genocide” of the Palestinian people, return the Golan Heights it had captured from the Syrians and take serious steps to bring durable peace in West Asia.

“We don’t mind if India wants to have good relations with Israel. But it should not be an excuse to remain silent on Israeli atrocities and it should not lead to dilution of India’s traditional support for the Arab rights and their cause,” she added.

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