Sunday, 9 July 2017

Israel is only a 'strategic partner'

  • Modi must be aware, that in becoming the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel he was merely correcting a historical wrong. Israel is not our 'natural ally'. At best it could be our 'strategic partner'. See below the difference.
Natural allies are normally 'birds of the same feather', while strategic partners are often ‘strange bedfellows’. Natural allies share common political and cultural values—they may share common historical and cultural traditions; their societal values may be more or less similar; they may practice the same religion; and so on. Strategic partners may share none of these similarities. What makes two countries either natural allies or strategic partners is the common security challenge that they both face at a particular juncture in history and more importantly their decision to come together and pool their resources to deal with this challenge.
  • David Ben Gurion, the founder of Israel, held a deep, resilient respect for India. He was fascinated by the India's ancient civilization, its inclusive culture, sought its friendship and recognition. He convinced Einstein to write the letter to Nehru, to carry the burden of the unrequited relationship. 
  • Nehru rejected Israel's hand of friendship and cooperation, since he felt he couldn't afford to antagonize the Arabs given India's large Muslim population who had chosen to remain instead of migrating to Pakistan. And yet for all of India's efforts the Arab nations did not come to India's aid even once during its wars and conflicts. Israel did. 
  • India recognized Israel in 1950 but without diplomatic relations.
  • In 1968, when India established Research & Analysis Wing, then prime minister Indira Gandhi reached out to Israel's Mossad – to help train the fledgling service.
  • Leave alone support, India has been betrayed by the Arab nations on Pakistan and Kashmir repeatedly. Be it the 1962 conflict with China, wars against Pakistan in 1965, 1971 and 1999 as well as during sanctions against India after nuclear tests, Israel has been the only nation to stand by us.
  • Not withstanding our ties with Arab world, they had always supported Pakistan in backing Kashmir's "movement for self-determination".
  • Modi’s “closeness” to Israel has blinded him to the report’s finding that 2,251 Palestinians were killed, over 1,600 wounded and some 5,00,000 displaced by the ruthless Israeli bombing of Gaza. The report says while Hamas did not use Palestinians as “human shields”, the Israelis did so using Palestinian children. 
  • Today, Israel has so much to offer us apart from countering terrorist menace, in fields of water conservation, irrigation, innovations in agriculture, space technology, cyber-security, research and development in the fields of science, informational technology, startups, trade, commerce and defense collaboration.
  • India's Israel policy has so far been unfair, myopic, perverted and hypocritical. This was a much-needed course-correction. However, a small country of 8.2 million can't be a model for a country with 1.3 billion with ethic and cultural diversity.
  • Human right violations of Israel in Gaza and west Bank might become a head ache for India, which is so far a principled supporter of Palestine cause.
  • It took one phone call from the Israeli prime minister for India to abandon seven decades of carefully cultivated relations with the Arabs in general, and the Palestinians in particular. This is a region which is host to nearly seven million Indian expatriate workers, whose remittances constitute the largest contribution to our foreign exchange earnings. It is also the region on which we depend for energy. In one fell blow, Modi has degraded us from being the best friend of the Arab world to its most doubtful supporter.
  • If not handled deftly, our burgeoning relationship with Israel may be construed negatively by the Islamic nations.
  • Finally 'strategic partnership' should be aimed at deriving mutual benefits without compromising the existing multilateral deep rooted relationships.
  • Modi had earlier visited Israel in 2006 when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. 

Palestine belongs to the Arabs as England belongs to the English 
and France to the French .. Mahatma Gandhi
If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first ... Shimon Peres

My View:
Making Israel as strategic partner and deriving benefits in upgrading defense and strike capabilities apart from improving know how which benefits the areas of agriculture, irrigation, security, trade and commerce etc is OK but it is all the more important to maintain equally good relationships with Islamic Nations in view of our long association despite hiccups, dependency on Arab nations for oil, millions of Indians employed in Gulf and billions of dollars they repatriate which helps us manage our trade deficits. Otherwise Modi will end up India deriving small benefits and bring our country face to face with gigantic issues. Foreign policy requires consistent principled behavior and farsightedness, which Modi lacks.

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