Ex-diplomat on NYT Pegasus Report Citing India’s UN Vote Says, Its Utter Rubbish

New Delhi: India’s former permanent representative to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin on Saturday dismissed as “utter rubbish” the “insinuation” in a New York Times report which cited India’s 2019 vote in support of Israel at the UN’s Economic and Social Council to highlight deepening of ties after a deal that included sale of the Israeli spyware Pegasus.

Tagging a tweet on the NYT report, Mr Akbaruddin, who was India’s Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations from 2016-2020, said, “The insinuation about India’s UN vote is utter rubbish…”

The media report said the Israeli spyware Pegasus and a missile system were the “centerpieces” of a roughly $2 billion deal of sophisticated weapons and intelligence gear between India and Israel in 2017. It also referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel in July 2017 – to become the first Indian prime minister to visit the country.

“For decades, India had maintained a policy of what it called ‘commitment to the Palestinian cause’, and relations with Israel were frosty. The Modi visit, however, was notably cordial, complete with a carefully staged moment of him and (then Israeli) Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu walking together barefoot on a local beach,” it said.

“They had reason for the warm feelings. Their countries had agreed on the sale of a package of sophisticated weapons and intelligence gear worth roughly USD 2 billion — with Pegasus and a missile system as the centerpieces,” the report said.

“Months later, Netanyahu made a rare state visit to India. And in June 2019, India voted in support of Israel at the UN’s Economic and Social Council to deny observer status to a Palestinian human rights organisation, a first for the nation,” the report said.

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