This Article is From Jul 31, 2014

Amid Protests Over Gaza Violence, Home Minister Rajnath Singh Gets an Invitation to Israel

Amid Protests Over Gaza Violence, Home Minister Rajnath Singh Gets an Invitation to Israel

File photo: Home Minister Rajnath Singh

New Delhi: In India, home to millions of Muslims, the ongoing violence in Gaza is a sensitive issue.

On July 24, India had voted in support of a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution to launch a probe into Israel's offensive on Gaza.

Over 1,200 people have been killed in the 23-day-long conflict and the toll continues to rise.

NDTV has learnt that nearly a week before the UNHRC resolution, Israel had extended an invitation to Home Minister Rajnath Singh to attend a conference on homeland security in Tel Aviv in November.

In February, India and Israel had signed the Homeland Security Pact -- an agreement on intelligence cooperation.

Even though there is no formal word on whether Mr Singh will accept the invitation, sources told NDTV that the government is likely to discuss the issue.

This may well be a tightrope walk for the Indian government: accepting the invitation would indicate India wants to maintain cordial ties with Israel and go about business as usual, but it has to do so without compromising or diluting its stand on the Palestinian cause. 

But as Israel continues to launch strikes in Gaza, the ripple effects of the attack are visible in India.

Yesterday, amid Eid celebrations in Srinagar, people protested against the killings of children and women in Gaza. 

A young student who participated in the protests told NDTV, "Our Muslim brothers are being killed in Palestine. It is our duty to protest against Israel and these protests shall continue".

Israel understands the domestic compulsions faced by the Indian government, say sources, but it is satisfied with the increase in cooperation in the fields of defence, security and agriculture.

Ohad Horsandi, spokesperson of the embassy of Israel, told NDTV, "India and Israel are free and democratic countries where people are free to express their opinions without any concern or fear. In recent weeks, we have received huge support from the Indian public in our fight against a terror organization. Obviously, other opinions have also been voiced in various platforms."