Historically under the rule of the Gandhi dynasty and the Congress Party, India was at best frosty and at worst hostile towards Israel Nehru followed by his daughter Indira Gandhi viewed themselves as leaders of the non aligned movement (although the non aligned movement seemed to be rather pro Soviet) and the Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser was an ally of theirs. Also to counter Pakistan which is Islamic, India felt the need to not alienate the Arab world. During the 1962 Sino-India War, Nehru actually turned to Israel for arms (a nation he barely recognized). Nehru asked that the weapons arrive in Indian ports without any flags. Ben-Gurion said “No flags, no weapons”. The flags remained on the ships. Thankfully things started to change in the early 1990′s when India started warming up to Israel and established full diplomatic relations (up to that point India only half recognized Israel) and leaders from both nations (including military chiefs) visited each others country. India has become one of Israel’s greatest arms customers as both nations are threatened by Islamofascism. Unfortunately, Obama’s Islamophilic inclinations has made it manifest to all taht he is a supporter of Pakistan (Pock–ee-stan) and therefore he ahs kept at arms length the worlds largest democracy which should be a natural ally.
THE FIRST of the three AWACS from Israel delivered to Agra airbase, India in 2009. Photo: REUTERS
by Noah Beck
Both countries are homelands for ancient peoples who gained their independence from the British in the 1940s.
Both states have gone on to create vibrant, multicultural democracies that have experienced dynamic, technologydriven economic growth. India and Israel each also have a large Muslim minority population, and each faces an ongoing terrorism threat from foreign and domestic Islamic extremists; indeed, both Israelis and Indians were targeted and killed in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Even more serious, India and Israel each face ballistic missile threats from at least one close, hostile Muslim state.
India already faces the nuclear threat posed by Pakistan, and Israel may soon confront the same threat from Iran.
There is also a blossoming military and commercial relationship between India and Israel. Israel is India’s second largest arms supplier after Russia, and Israeli-Indian military cooperation extends to technology upgrades, joint research, intelligence cooperation and even space (in 2008, India launched a 300-kilogram Israeli satellite into orbit). Israel has upgraded India’s Soviet-era armor and aircraft and provided India with sea-to-sea missiles, radar and other surveillance systems, border monitoring equipment, night vision devices, and other military support.
Bilateral trade reached $6 billion last year and negotiations began this year for a free trade agreement.
Israel-India cooperation in agriculture and water technology is growing both through government-sponsored initiatives and private business deals.
Last year, Israeli and Indian government institutions jointly launched an online network that provides real-time communications between Indian farmers and Israeli agricultural technology experts, and Israel is in the process of setting up 28 agricultural training centers throughout India.
Last June, a delegation of 16 high-ranking Indian officials from the water authorities of Rajasthan, Karnataka, Goa and Haryana traveled to Israel to visit wastewater treatment plants and meet with some of Israel’s leading environmentalists and agronomists to learn about the desert country’s newest green technologies.
Tata Industries, the multi-billion- dollar Indian company, recently invested $5 million to kick-start the Technology Innovation Momentum Fund at Tel Aviv University’s Ramot technology transfer company. Tata Industries hopes to capitalize on future Israeli innovation, like the algorithm for error correction in flash memory (which is one of the patents filed by Ramot and now inside billions of dollars’ worth of SanDisk products).
[........] Such a synergistic relationship is unsurprising, given the historically harmonious relations between the peoples of Israel and India.
Judaism was one of the first foreign religions to come to India: the Cochin Jews arrived about 2,500 years ago and settled in the city of Kerala, where they flourished as traders. In addition to the few thousand Jews who live in major Indian cities like Mumbai, there are also some larger Indian communities, like the 8,000 “Bnai Menashe” (from the northeastern Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur) who claim descent from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel. While Jews have always been a minuscule religious minority in India, they have historically encountered very little anti-Semitism.
In Israel, about 1% of the Jewish population has Indian ancestry.
In addition to the many historic and economic reasons for India and Israel to strengthen their ties, there are also strong geopolitical motivators. Israel’s tiny land mass (about 21,000 square kilometers) makes the Jewish state particularly vulnerable and compels it to make strategic use of seaborne offensive and defensive military capabilities. A vital component of those capabilities is Israel’s submarine force, which requires friendly waters in which to deploy and maintain such a force – something that the Indian Navy can provide with its dominance of South Asian waters.
With the ongoing security threats posed by India’s nuclear-armed rival, Pakistan, the Kashmir conflict (which recently claimed the lives of five Indian soldiers), and potential conflict with the other Asian heavyweight, China, India needs the kind of military edge that Israel can help it to obtain. [........]
One area where India could deepen its alliance with both Israel and the US is on the issue of Iran. India, the second largest importer of Iranian crude oil after China, won its third 180-day waiver from US sanctions last June after reducing its oil purchases from Iran.
But in 2012, Iran and India agreed to trade in rupees for shipments of oil, rice, sugar and soybeans, to circumvent US financial sanctions on Iranian oil shipments. And Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals is now reportedly receiving a cargo of Iranian crude, after a four-month hiatus, with Hindostan Petroleum also restarting imports soon. [.........]
While India has its own commercial interests, India also has a strong interest in a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue. India’s economic and diplomatic clout can help to pressure Iran into a compromise that prevents a catastrophic Middle East war. [.........]
India’s history of religious tolerance stands in stark contrast to that of Iran. Since Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iran has been regarded as one of the world’s worst offenders against freedom of religion.
Iran’s vicious human rights abuses and undemocratic political system are also well known. Would India want such a country to have nuclear weapons? Isn’t Pakistan enough? As a responsible member of the nuclear club, a fellow democracy and one of the greatest rising world powers, India should approach the Iranian nuclear issue as an opportunity to demonstrate how growing Indian clout can promote global security and curb extremist, undemocratic regimes like the Islamic Republic.
By deepening India’s ties with other innovative and economically advanced democracies like the United States and Israel, India can better secure its own interests and position itself for continued growth and leadership in a more stable world
Read the rest – India and Israel’s strategic ties
Tags: Noah Beck