to bring to justice 26/11 perpetrators
Saluting the "courage, unity and resolve" of Mumbaikars, Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh pledged on the second anniversary of the
26/11 attacks Friday to redouble efforts to "bring the
perpetrators of this crime against humanity to justice".
Two years after the 26/11 terror spree, baby Moshe, whose parents
were killed in the attack on the Jewish centre in Mumbai, is
growing up fine in Israel. And the ties between India and Israel
have grown stronger than ever as the two countries bolster their
secuity dialogue and firm up a free trade pact.
"One of the main intentions of terrorists was to harm relations
between India and Israel. But it has had an opposite effect: They
have pushed us closer than ever before," David Goldfarb, a senior
diplomat at the Israeli embassy here, told IANS.
Said Navtej Sarna, India's ambassador to Israel: "India-Israel
relations continue to develop strongly in several areas, including
agriculture, trade, water resources and cutting-edge
The Chabad House Jewish centre was among the targets during the
Nov 26-29, 2008 Mumbai terror attack that killed 166 people,
including 26 foreigners. Moshe's parents, who ran the Chabad
House, were among the victims.
Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor among the 10 attackers, told police
the Israelis were targeted to "avenge the atrocities on
Palestinians." Israel had sent paramedics and other rescue
personnel to Mumbai.
Baby Moshe, who turned four two weeks ago, is growing up fine in
Israel and misses Chabad House, also called Nariman House, say his
paternal grandparents Nachman and Frieda Holtzberg, who are in
Mumbai for the prayer service for the Mumbai terror victims.
Since 26/11, the India-Israel counter-terror cooperation and the
dialogue on homeland security has acquired a new force. "Sharing
intelligence between India and Israel on terrorist attacks have
intensified. The defence relationship has grown stronger,"
Chinmaya Gharekhan, a veteran diplomat and India's former special
envoy to West Asia, told IANS.
Goldfarb sees India and Israel as "victims of Islamist
fundamentalist terror groups" and points out that more people in
both countries understand that they have to work together against
the scourge of terror.
"India, Israel are both democracies in an unfriendly neighbourhood.
Israel firmly stands behind India in countering terrorism," he
Israel is the second largest supplier of cutting-edge defence
equipment to India. The two countries are planning to jointly
develop a new generation of medium-range surface-to-air missiles
in a $2.47 billion project, informed sources said.
But it's not just security cooperation that is blossoming.
Economic relations are on the upswing. Israel's Finance Minister
Yuval Steinitz said in Tel Aviv Thursday that it was going to sign
a free trade agreement (FTA) with India.
Steinitz is expected to visit India in February 2011 to push
negotiations for the FTA.
"It is progressing quite well and I hope it will happen very
soon," said Israeli Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer,
who visited India in January.
India is now the second top export destination for Israel, next
only to the US. Bilateral trade has grown manifold from $80
million in 1991 to about $5 billion in 2010. Israeli high-tech
companies and start-ups are increasingly outsourcing much of their
development to India.
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