A 21-clause joint statement issued by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday, capping a three-day visit, was more notable for what it did not say than for what it did say.
The communique — which trumpeted growing bilateral cooperation in technology, agriculture, defense and counter-terrorism — did not even pay lip service to the two-state solution, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.
“The two Prime Ministers discussed the developments pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process,” the statement read, in one of the rare references to the subject during Modi’s tour.
“They underlined the need for the establishment of a just and durable peace in the region. They reaffirmed their support for an early negotiated solution between the sides based on mutual recognition and security arrangements.”
But they apparently did not touch on what form that solution would take.
The omission was consistent with the mode of the Modi trip, which excluded a visit to the Palestinian Authority, often a must-see on the itineraries of foreign dignitaries, if only a secondary one. It was noted that the first day and a half, Modi’s visit passed without him once publicly referring to the Palestinian issue.
A senior Indian official was quoted as saying it was not his country’s style to engage in “megaphone diplomacy,” or go to other countries and lecture them about how to run their affairs. He said this is largely because India does not like it when other countries come to India and lecture it about relations with Pakistan.
After meeting for some four hours with Netanyahu, as well as at times with an expanded group of advisers and ministers, Modi said that India and Israel “live in complex geographies.”
After a four-hour meeting on Thursday, Modi told the media, “We are aware of strategic threats to regional peace and stability. India has suffered firsthand the violence and hatred spread by terror.
“So has Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I agreed to do much more together to protect our strategic interests, and also to cooperate to combat growing radicalization and terrorism, including in cyberspace.
“It is India’s hope that peace, dialogue and restraint will prevail,” in the region’s search for peace.
In the joint statement, the two leaders “stressed that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever.”