Interaction with Mark Sofer, Deputy Director General, Asia & Pacific Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel
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On 24 March 2015, Ambassador Mark Sofer, Deputy Director General for Asia & Pacific Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel, accompanied by the present Ambassador Daniel Carmon, visited the VIF for a talk on Israel’s approach to India, followed by an interactive session. While the talk was intended primarily to focus on the bilateral issues, the ensuing interaction brought up a number of regional and global issues for substantive discussions, inter alia, the growing threat from radicalization, especially the Islamist extremism and the need for moderation within Islam, the rising challenge to the Middle East security from the ISIS, Israel’s perceived threat from Iran’s nuclearisation, anti-Semitism in Europe, and Israel’s foreign policy approach towards a whole host of countries, including India, the United States, China, and Pakistan, among others.

At the outset, General NC Vij, Director, VIF, said India attaches great importance to its relationship with Israel, evident from the flurry of events, both on diplomatic and security fronts, especially since the new government has taken over in New Delhi. While defence and security cooperation continues to serve as the bedrock of Indo-Israeli partnership, the bilateral relationship itself has spiraled into new areas of cooperation -agriculture, water and others. He also wished the bilateral relationship between Israel and India would bloom further in the years ahead.

Adding weight to General Vij’s views, Mark Sofer, the Ambassador to India from 2007 to 2011, said what binds India and Israel together is the commonality of interests and values cherished globally. Transcending from a negative phase that marked the bilateral relationship prior to 1992, India and Israel are fast on track to achieving what is described as a normal state to state relationship. What is even more significant, the two countries need no longer feel reticent about their relationship. He went on to add India and Israel are two islands of stability in a region strewn with islands of instability, hence greater is the need for cementing the relationship. The ambassador spoke candidly on the entire threat spectrum facing the Middle East and cleared Israel’s position on many issues.

A lively interactive session followed the talk during which Mark sofer answered candidly to all the specific questions put to him by the VIF fraternity. The interactive session also brought home differences of perception on certain issues. However both sides felt the need to accommodate the differences, especially in light of the fact that a stronger partnership between India and Israel is a win-win situation for both the countries. Adm KK Nayyar, Lt Gen Ravi Sawhney, Amb Rajiv Sikri, and Amb PP Shukla were among other strategic experts who interacted with Ambassador Mark sofer.

Event Date 
March 24, 2015
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