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Grounds of a New Momentum in Indo-Israeli Ties

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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In the history of diplomacy seldom have relations between any two nations blossomed as fast as they have in the case of India and Israel. Ever since India’s Congress Prime Minister P V Narsimha Rao decided to establish diplomatic ties with the Jewish state in 1992, there has been no looking back . The successive dispensations in New Delhi have carried forward the Rao tradition attaining newer heights in its multi-faceted relationship with Jerusalem.

Knowledgeable sources say that with Bharatiya Janata Party Prime Minister Narendra Modi now at the helm, this process looks all set to acquire further momentum. The new momentum in Indo-Israeli ties can be attributed to several factors.

Firstly, Prime Minister Modi has long been a great advocate of stronger ties with the Jewish state. He has visited Israel as Chief Minister of Gujarat and experienced how meaningful Israeli cooperation has been in the success story of the state he led until recently. He is likely to visit the Jewish state as India’s Prime Minister and repeat his Gujarat story at the all-India level promoting mutual endeavors in the areas of agriculture, industrial research and development, solar and thermal power, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, water recycling and water desalination plants.

Secondly, unlike in the previous Indian governments with some voices of dissent against the growing Indo-Israeli bonhomie, there is an almost complete unanimity among all Cabinet Ministers today to boost the bilateral ties. Modi’s External Affairs Minister Sushama Swaraj has been greatly influenced by the legendary Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. Swaraj has served as chairwoman of the Indo-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group ( 2006-2009). In 2008 she described Israel as “a reliable partner” while criticizing the then left-wing parties’ opposition to the Israel-India diplomatic relationship.

Thirdly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has an historic opportunity to implement his party ideology today and foster better ties with Israel. The party derives its ideological sustenance from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. The Sangh has always enjoyed a fine relationship with the Jewish state. Its hard-core ideologues and Israel’s right-wing Zionists have had a lot in common. Both of them long for a ‘lost civilization’ and lament that they have been the victims of a cruel phenomenon of the ‘outsiders’ dispossessing the originals from their own homelands. The RSS views the nation-state as a goddess (Bharat Mata– the land of Lords Rama and Krishna) while the Zionists see it in a ‘Holy Land’ where the Halakha or sacred law prevails. Paradoxically, some of the original proponents of Zionism and Hindutva cannot be said to be representatives of Judaism and Hinduism in an orthodox religious sense with Theodore Herzl, Chaim Weizmann, Max Nordau, VD Savarkar and KB Hedgewar being self-professed atheists.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh views Israel as a bulwark against Islamist terrorism. In 2003, when then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited India, the R S S stated, “The entire world acknowledges that Israel has effectively and ruthlessly countered terror in the Middle East. Since India and Israel are both fighting a war against terrorism, we should learn a lesson or two from them.”

Given this background of RSS- Israel bonhomie, Prime Minister Modi is likely to make the best use of Indo-Israeli cooperation in every possible area. Needless to say, the previous BJP-led government of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee could do little as it was constantly under pressure of the coalition politics to act differently. With a majority of its own in Parliament, the Modi government would have no such hindrances in implementing its Israel-friendly ideology and serving the perceived Indian national interests .

Fourthly, the Modi government seems to be of the firm conviction that in the post-Cold War landscape Jerusalem can be a very highly reliable partner in its defense modernization . There has of late been a near consensus across the Indian strategic community that New Delhi has had a very realistic approach to defense. Its nuclear doctrine has been followed by a huge investment in improving its command, control, communications, and intelligence systems and its second strike capacity, including the survival of the decision-making structure. India today is also being increasingly equipped with an appropriate defensive nuclear biological and chemical (NBC) mechanism to counter the related threats from any potential corners.

Jagdish N. Singh

About the Author: Jagdish N. Singh is an Indian journalist based in New Delhi.

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  1. Gene Strong says:

    Israel needs more friends after the betrayal of Israel by Obama. Liberal American Jews are Obama supporters and traitors to Israel.

  2. iron man modi is.

  3. Have you forgotten Obama’s aid?

  4. Does Israel really want to be “friends” with a nation where women are raped all the time and killed if they fight back? Where they commit suicide because they cannot get justice and they’ve lost their minds?

  5. Gene Strong says:

    Obama has been reversing long standing agreements with israel.as quickly as he can Zahra G Ismail.
    You sound like one of Obama Muslim cronies.

  6. Lars Lind says:

    Good for them. God said “I will bless those that bless you”

  7. וידאו מסע לקודש הקודשים לראות במו עינייכם Video HOLY OF Holies
    אבן השתיה בתוך הר הבית בוידאו https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=485009281631624 ( המקום הקדוש ביותר בעולם התבוננו היטב בצילום וידאו מסע לקודש הקודשים לראות במו עיניכם ( חדשות… ראה/י עוד
    וידאו מסע לקודש הקודשים לראות במו עינייכם Video HOLY OF Holies
    אבן השתיה בתוך הר הבית בוידאו ( המקום הקדוש ביותר בעולם התבוננו היטב בצילום

    וידאו מסע לקודש הקודשים לראות במו עיניכם
    ( חדשות הכותל המערבי FACEBOOK )

    ירושלים הכותל המערבי אבן השתיה לפני 3500 שנה
    הכותל המערבי
    Jerusalem Western Wall foundation stone 3500 years ago
    Jerusalén Muro de las Lamentaciones primera piedra hace 3.500 años
    Єрусалим Західна стіна камінь у фундамент 3500 років тому
    Fondazione Gerusalemme Muro Occidentale pietra 3500 anni fa
    Iarúsailéim Balla an Iarthair bhunchloch 3500 bliain ó shin

  8. What aid? He is throwing Israel under the bus.Period!

  9. Israel and India have been quite friendly for a while, both having hatred for Islamic terrorist.(remember Mombasa a few years ago?). Israel has given India a lot of military upgrades, especially in electronics and there have been good relations between them.

  10. a president who doesn´t even do anything about the brutal rape and killings of women, children and men in India, simply cause they are the lowest caste!!! israel should we warned… his intentions are not for the benefit of Israel at all!

  11. Israel has been in the Western sphere too long, at least it seems that way, and it has not benefited in the way it should. Israel should look to others beside the US.

  12. excellent, 2 democracies talking and being friends!

  13. Mandy Jacobs says:

    Well all I can I say we have
    In the UK honour killings with Islamist this doesn’t only happen in India . Lets hope this man can change things to help the women in his country PG

  14. Kjeld Hesselmann says:

    Happy news that these two age-old nations are into an ever escalating partnership-building. Though India and Israel both build on antique civilizations their modern shape were formed in the late forties. Colonial style and alienation were two obstacles to the new nations – not to mention dire threats from Moslems. Advanced cyber technologies are an area where the two countries can prosper in developing counter-attack means confronting hostile neighbors.

  15. you were timid on the description. in truth we have a rich culture and div ine mission within the holy land of israel with lots of g-ds commandments to eventually be performed on this land agricultural social and cultural… which it seems there could be great mutual understanding

  16. Anonymous says:

    May G-d bless India.

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