Ambassador Ushpiz’ speech on the occasion of Signing Ceremony of the Agreements of Cooperation in Public and Homeland Security between Israel and India, February 27, 2014
In almost every field in the 22 years of full diplomatic relations and even before that, our relations were based first and foremost on shared values. Among them, is that India and Israel pay high priority to protecting our people’s lives.
As two democracies nested each in its own sea of hostility and instability, the basic challenges and threats we face have a lot in common. Terror and state sponsored terrorism are a global danger to us all. It is a threat that has the potential of affecting each and every aspect of our lives and livelihood on a very basic level, and it had struck Indians and Israelis together more than once.
We also share interests. It is the No. 1 duty of any government to provide food and shelter to its people and to ensure their safety from any threat. For, how will we be able to achieve our goal of economic development if our environment is not safe? And how will our citizens translate their talent and unlimited hunger for success if they, god forbid, will not feel secure?
It is even more important, and maybe even twice as hard, in free and democratic societies. It is not something to be taken for granted nor is it something that one should assume is easy to obtain.
Friends, our relations are based on an equal and mutually respected partnership. It derives from the assumption that protecting our values and mutual interests, requires us to cooperate and work together. It is also based on chemistry between Israelis and Indians, one that is very much evident in this room today.
Today we take a step forward together by formalizing these shared interests. This is what lies in the heart of these agreements.
Mr. Secretary, throughout the years, Israel had acquired hands-on experience with fighting terror; an experience that has been achieved through the sacrifice of the lives of many men and women. Our own flesh and blood that we owe so much to.
Israel is happy to share with India this experience and the knowledge that were built through a long period of fighting terror, for a very simple reason: We know it will save people’s lives. At the same time, we know that this is a two-way-street that we shall contribute to as much as we shall be contributed from, since we have a lot to learn from our brave and very capable Indian counterparts. We are very thankful for this.
These agreements that are being signed here today are a result of joint effort of many hard-working people on both sides.
Through the long term vision of the leadership of both of our countries, we have been able to push forward our endeavor. About two and a half years ago, just before I came here as the Israeli Ambassador to India, I met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Avigdor Liberman. One could not have misunderstood his very clear guidance: “You have to do HLS with India. We need to work on that.”
The determination, dedication, wisdom and leadership of Minister for Home Affairs Shinde, former Minister Chidambaram, and Minister for Internal Security Yitzhak Aharonovich led us to this important moment.
I would also like to take this opportunity and to thank Secretary MHA Anil Goswami that through his insight we have been able to solidify these agreements. I would like to express my utmost appreciation to Additional Secretary Dr. Rajiv Sharma, MEA Secretary East, Mr. Anil Wadhwa, former Secretary East Sanjay Singh and former Secretary East Ashok Kantha, JS WANA - Mr. Sandeep Kumar and the Joint Secretary for Policy Planning – Mr. Lokesh Dutt Jha.
I would like to extend my appreciation to my colleagues in the Israeli Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Internal Security, as well as our dear friends from our Defence Delegation here in Delhi that have a first-hand experience with dealing with terror threats. Last but not the least, all of us have to thank Mr. Eitan Ben David, the head of Counter Terrorism at the PM office in Israel. All of these stakeholders and many more should be proud of our achievement. They all had an indispensable part of this achievement and today I am grateful for their efforts.
It is a happy day and we can be satisfied with what we have done so far. It is the culmination of a few years of joint efforts to lay the foundations for this cooperation. And today what we do is exactly that. We finish with drawing the blueprints and turn to the construction of the building. In the end of the day, we will be tested not by being able to sign papers but by bringing tangible results out of this work, which means one thing - saving lives.