Under no circumstances will Israel support Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, top Israeli authorities have said.
This is significant given that the country has been relatively silent over Kashmir, which is described as the core issue between India and Pakistan, despite standing shoulder to shoulder with India in the fight against terrorism.
For India, the main issue with Pakistan is cross-border terrorism which continues to fan unrest in Jammu and Kashmir.
For a while, after India established full diplomatic relations with Israel in the early 90s, Israel had endorsed India’s position that Kashmir was an integral part of the country.
However, as India’s West Asia expert Rajendra Abhyankar described it, a certain entente cordiale emerged between Israel and Pakistan after 2003 with Israel starting to look at Pakistan as an important country of the Muslim world.
The Delhi Declaration issued after the visit to India by then PM Ariel Sharon in 2003, the first bilateral visit by the PM of either country, did not mention Israel’s position on Kashmir. Similarly, the recent visit by PM Narendra Modi, first by an Indian PM to Israel, did not see any direct or even indirect reference to the issue in public despite the tumult prevailing in the state for which India blames Pakistan.
According to Israeli officials though, there is no question of Israel in any way supporting Pakistan, whatever might be the situation in Kashmir. This was conveyed, in response to a TOI query, to a delegation of Indian journalists and politicians who were brought to Israel by the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
The query also touched upon why, despite claiming to fully back India’s stand on terrorism, the joint statement issued after Modi-Netanyahu meeting last month, neither made any specific mention of cross-border terrorism nor called upon Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice. In contrast, the Modi-Trump joint statement this year did not just name Pakistan, asking it to expeditiously bring the perpetrators of Mumbai and Pathankot attacks to justice, but also sought action against Pakistan based terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
According to Israel though, the joint statement did not have to be exhaustive and that if something wasn’t mentioned, it did not mean that it wasn’t on the table. Israel also doesn’t see the Kashmir issue as any form of religious conflict.