Let us use local licence plates,not CD: Israel

Envoy says white-and-black plates will allow embassy vehicles to 'blend in' with local vehicles.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published: February 16, 2012 2:25:54 am

In the wake of the February 13 attack on its car,the Israel embassy today requested the government to replace the blue-and-white “CD (diplomatic corps) number plates” in its official vehicles — in Delhi and its consulate in Mumbai — with local white-and-black plates.

Israeli envoy Alon Ushpiz and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna met today,their first meeting since the attack happened. Taking the CD plates off,the envoy said,will allow the embassy vehicles to “blend in” with local vehicles.

In fact,Ushpiz drove to Krishna’s official residence in a vehicle with a non-CD Delhi registration plate. Incidentally,Indian High Commission vehicles in Pakistan also use local number plates to avoid being targeted.

Sources said the Israeli side has also asked for additional security for its embassy personnel in Delhi and Mumbai and security agencies have been asked to make requisite arrangements.

A four-member forensics team from Israel is scheduled to arrive here tomorrow.

After meeting Ushpiz,Krishna also met the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia. While details of the meeting is not known,it is being seen as an effort to pile up pressure on India over Iran.

Meanwhile,New Delhi continued to be cautious. To counter speculation of an “Iranian hand”,as alleged by Israel,the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs,Syed Akbaruddin,said: “We have no information or evidence of any country,organisation,entity and individual being involved.” Sources said “so far” they had found nothing to connect Iran to the attack.

The Iran Embassy has also not got in touch with New Delhi on the matter and Ambassador Syed Mehdi Nabizadeh said today that Tehran would “verify” the allegations only if Indian security agencies asked it do so. “It (incident) has happened in India. If Indian security said something like that (then) we have to verify… This (the allegations) is false and they (Israel) always keep feeding such a thing,” Nabizadeh said. “We hope India will verify the case to know the real position. Till now,their final reaction has not come.”

The Ambassador added that he refused to “accept” or “deny” its role in the attack,that left four injured,including the wife of a defence attache at the Israeli Embassy in Delhi. “We are not accepting or denying this. I don’t know how can we assume within short moment who has done this,” the Iranian envoy said.

Adding that bilateral ties between India and Iran were “good”,Nabizadeh said “no third country” can put a hurdle in this relationship.

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