Modi diplomacy: Israel can finally talk about defence interests with India

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: January 16, 2016 8:10 am
sushma swaraj, africa summit, india africa summit, africa summit news, africa summit updates, india news, latest news External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

About three years ago, when an Israeli ambassador to India was asked about the India-Israel defence relationship – he had shied away from giving a direct answer. The Congress-led UPA government was in power and New Delhi and Tel Aviv used to take great pains at avoiding the discussion on the most-obvious element of the relationship: defence.

So, this week, when Israeli Ambassador Daniel Carmon addressed the media and declared openly: “The defence cooperation for many years has been central pillars of the relationship. The changing world, changing parameters, changing needs are always something that is on the top of our agenda and always on our radar,” it came as a surprise. He also referred to the tests of the Barak 8 missile, both in India and Israel, as shining examples of joint ventures in the defence sphere.

That is the change in the relationship, as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj heads to Israel and Palestine on January 17 and 18.

The two sides have now come out into the open about their mutual strategic interests, and not just talk about the issues of agriculture, water and renewable energy.

Officials say the change in the relationship has come after the Narendra Modi government came to power.

The first signs were when the Prime Minister met his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in New York on the sidelines of the UNGA in September 2014 — the first such meeting in a decade. In February 2015, Moshe Ya’alon, the first Israeli Defence Minister to visit India, spoke openly of bilateral defence cooperation.

However, the Indian government – even under the BJP-led NDA regime – is aware of the complexity of the relationship with Palestine, as there are domestic political sensitivities involved.

Thus, a year after his meeting with Netanyahu, Modi met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in September 2015 in New York. And in all public pronouncements, Swaraj and South Block officials have maintained India’s position of support to the Palestinian cause.

This was reiterated not only during President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Palestine and Israel in October 2015, but also in the statements that India has made at the UN over the past year and a half. Part of the diplomatic balancing is in the optics — after landing at Ben-Gurion airport, Mukherjee headed first to Palestine, before returning to Israel.

While the balancing of the relationship will be an integral part of the relationship, indications are that Swaraj’s visit will be the precursor to an exchange of visits at the highest level between India and the region. Modi will become the first Indian PM to visit Israel and Palestine, and top Israeli and Palestinian leaders are likely to visit India this year.

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  1. B
    Jan 16, 2016 at 3:53 am
    India Israel Bhai Bhai
    1. S
      Jan 16, 2016 at 4:05 pm
      India should embrace Israel , not only for technology but also for the lobby influence that it has in US politics.
      1. G
        Jan 16, 2016 at 3:16 am
        India should also import technology to manufacture nails from Israel, especially those that are used on Ariel bombs that can turn into claymore mines and be ultra efficient in killing people. Sushma Swaraj should prostrate on the feet of Israelites and beg for the technology. We should not forget our pre-3000 year brother and sisterhood that existed before our respective migration towards east and west from Central Asia.
        1. N
          Jan 16, 2016 at 3:20 am
          What is India going to make? A FAKE? ARYAN-butta invented zero. That is a proof that lickspittles cannot count beyond zero. And for that hey are world renowned bean counters. To appease Israel, Indian tax money is spent. There are many things that is going to come out.
          1. B
            Jan 16, 2016 at 3:56 am
            See, Indians are so proud that they are going to import defense equipment. The only species that always prides itself in importing all technology. But they publish with the pride that every other country experiences when they export technology. Not a shame at all. brahmin technology: beg where thy thinks thy inferior.
            1. P
              Jan 16, 2016 at 3:09 pm
              1. G
                Jan 16, 2016 at 12:50 pm
                Jews and brahmins are unnatural allies sure to fail, even in that. Israel is being kicked left right front back top below by European Union, UK, US. Everyday Netanyahu is crying baby in news papers. Sweden is the first country to recognize Palestine. EU will follow. World renowned physicist Steven Hawkings recently refused to attend a science conference to protest Israels macre of 2000 Palestine, out of which 75% were civilians including children. Many in the scientific community all over world are realizing the monster that Israel is. AND TRUE TO THEIR CRIMINAL HISTORY, BRAHMINS ARE ACTING BUTLERS TO ISRAELITES. ONE MORE REASON TO BELIEVE BRAHMINISM IS DESPERATE AND GETTING MORE VULNERABLE BY THE DAY LEADING TO SELF ANNIHILATION.
                1. R
                  Jan 16, 2016 at 11:46 am
                  Israelites and "indo-ARYAN brahmins" they have some pre-historic connexion, may be Stone Age, Barb-aryan. What would that be? I have seen brahmin originated emails projecting Israelites as some super creatures that was audatious and brazen semitist. Brahmins of Brahmin Jokers Party(BJP) are taking India into whirlpool of sure death.
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