Israel’s gift for Krishna: A tennis racquet

Jerusalem, Jan 10 (IANS) Blending diplomacy with sports, Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman presented a tennis racquet embossed with signatures of leading national players to his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna, an ardent tennis fan.

Presenting the racket to Krishna at a joint press conference after wide-ranging talks here, Lieberman, also Israel’s deputy prime minister, spoke in a lighter vein about Krishna’s passion for tennis.

Krishna was pleasantly surprised. He was also presented an intricately designed plaque that commemorates the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between India and Israel.

The 79-year-old Krishna is known to play tennis whenever he can find time, specially when he is visiting Bangalore, the IT hub whose transformation he presided over as the chief minister of Karnataka.

He is the life-long president of the All Indian Lawn Tennis Association and president of the Karnataka Tennis Association. Last year, Krishna extended his stay in London to watch tennis at Wimbledon.

Krishna Monday began a two-day visit to Israel, the first by an Indian foreign minister to that country in the last 11 years.