TEL AVIV, June 9, Reuter: India, which to show support for a Palestinian uprising refused to play Davis Cup Tennis in Israel, has pledged to upgrade official ties with the Jewish State, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said on Thursday.
Israel radio reported that Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi promised an American Jewish leader in New York that India would increase diplomatic relations in the next two weeks. It said Gandhi asked that the promise remains secret.
India has no official representation in Israel, although the Israelis have a consulate in Bombay accredited to the State of Maharashtra.
Peres said he was not surprised by the report, telling armed forces radio: “It was supposed to happen a week ago or something like that. Take another two weeks. Even history can wait another two weeks.
“It will be a limited rise, by the way. We’re not talking about a substantial rise”.
The report said Gandhi made the promise to Morris Abram, head of the conference of Presidents of major American Jewish organizations. Abram said he met Gandhi at the request of the Indian leader.
The report comes at 4 time when the Soviet Union, in an effort to play a larger role in the Middle East, has also increased low level ties with Israel after severing relations during the 1967 Middle East war.
In March, Gandhi told his Parliament India would not play a scheduled Davis Cup World Group tie against Israel in Tel Aviv. He said the action was being “to protest against the Israeli atro Cities on the Palestinians.”
At least 211 Palestinians and three Israelis have died in the six month old uprising against Israel’s 21year rule over the West Bank and Gaza strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians.
Under Davis Cup rules, India’s refusal to play brought a suspension from 1989 competition and relegation to the Asian Zone in 1990.
Israeli officials said they had tried from a long time to raise the level of ties with Bombay.
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