NICOSIA, Cyprus—India has expressed interest in being part of the burgeoning regional cooperation among Israel, Cyprus and Greece, Greek and Israeli leaders said on Monday.
The prospect, which would broaden the alliance among the eastern Mediterranean allies, was announced during a trilateral summit of the leaders of Israel, Cyprus and Greece held in Nicosia.
The suggestion for the move, which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed to Greek and Cypriot leaders, has won the approval of all three countries in the budding alliance, and the Indian leader will be invited to attend the next trilateral summit scheduled to take place in Israel next year, a senior Israeli official said.
New Delhi is especially interested in a cargo route connecting India through the Arabian Peninsula and onto the Mediterranean, the official said.
India is a strong ally of Israel, and the countries’ prime ministers enjoy a strong relationship.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu aspires to expand such cooperation to Gulf countries as well as to forge a normalization deal with Saudi Arabia.
A communications corridor that will transmit digital data between Asian and Arab countries and with Europe and the West through Israel is expected to be constructed in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Energy deal ahead
The Indian interest comes as Israel is poised to finalize an energy deal with Greece and Cyprus that will include a mammoth electricity project connecting the power grids of the three countries as well as the creation of a liquefaction plant in Cyprus or, alternatively, a gas pipeline with Turkey for the export of natural gas to Europe. A decision on the latter project is expected within the next three months.
Israeli dairy market to open
Separately, Netanyahu announced that Israel intends to open its dairy market which protects local production with high import duties to Greek and Cypriot products in an effort to bring down costs and spur competition.
“May the best yogurt win,” he said.