Call it counter-terror diplomacy or a united front against terror, Israel has made a significant move to stand with India in its fight against terrorism by banning the Pakistan-based terror outfit, Lashkar e Tayyaba. Significantly, the move comes at a time when the Israel-Hamas war is at its peak and mustering international support is key for Israel whose operations in Gaza continue, even as the country awaits the release of its hostages.
Ahead of the 15th anniversary of the dastardly Mumbai terror attacks, Israel made a fresh outreach with its decision to list LeT as a terror organisation. "Despite not being requested by the Government of India to do so, the state of Israel has formally completed all necessary procedures and has satisfied all required checks and regulations to the result of introducing Lashkar-e-Taiba into the Israeli list of illegal terror organizations," said a release by the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi.
Days after India condemned the terror attack on Israel on October 7, the chorus grew in Israeli circles for Hamas to be declared a terrorist organisation. Israeli ambassador Naor Gilon has said that the issue has been taken up with the relevant authorities in New Delhi. No decision has been taken on it so far.
However, Israel’s outreach also goes on to define the way countries are approaching like-minded partners at a time when there is war in two parts of the world - Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas. The US support to Israel comes only ahead of India which is attempting a balancing act, even though it has condemned terror in all its forms and supported Israel’s fight against terror.
Closer home, flanked by Pakistan-sponsored terror groups like LeT on one side and covert support to outfits like the Jaish-e-Mohammed by China, New Delhi understands the pitfalls of a troubled neighbourhood where radicalism of any kind poses a significant threat, which also means building peace in the Middle East is a prerequisite for peace in the region.
Counter-terror experts said the coming together of extremist and terror outfits as the Israeli operations in Gaza continue can have a direct bearing on India's internal security, which is prompting security agencies to keep a tight watch on terror groups and affiliates, in physical and virtual spaces, ahead of 26/11.
Meanwhile, the message is clear that India has won support for its constant message to the international community of late, about uniting against terror whether it is at the G20 forum or beyond. "While Israel only lists terror organisations who are actively operating against it from within or around its borders, or in a similar manner to India - those globally recognized by UNSC or the US State Department; the Israeli ministries of Defense and Foreign affairs, have jointly worked in the last few months towards an expedited and extraordinary listing of the Lashkar -e- Taiba organization on this date, to highlight the importance of a Unified Global Front in combating terrorism," it said.
“Lashkar-e-Taiba is a deadly and reprehensible terror organisation, responsible for the murder of hundreds of Indian civilians as well as others. Its heinous actions on November 26, 2008, still reverberate in force, through all peace-seeking nations and societies," it added.
Israeli embassy, meanwhile, offered condolences to all victims of terrorism and to the survivors and bereaved families of the Mumbai attacks, including those in Israel. "We stand with you united in the hope for a better peaceful future," it said.
For both India and Israel, the Mumbai attacks bring back memories of Baby Moshe, the youngest survivor who lost his parents in the terror strike at Nariman House- also known as Chabad House- among many others who lost their loved ones to terror.