Narendra Modi will become the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel, it’s historic. People think India has the relationship with Israel for only 25 years, while they forget India has the relationship with Israel for centuries. When Jews were persecuted in Europe. some Jews in their search of safe heavens found India as one such place. Jews in India are a religious minority but unlike many parts of the world, have historically lived in India without a single instance of anti-Semitism from the Hindu majority country. Most of the Indian Jews have shifted to their promise land in the early 60s & 70s making Israel a home to almost 85,000 Indian origin Jews. India still has a Jewish presence, a super minority that chose India as their country forming a population 5,000 approx. in a country of 1.3 Billion.
- Pressure from the Soviet Union to stay away from Israel as it was a major ally of USA.
- India has a Muslim population of roughly 172 million & previous govt. followed appeasement politics.
- India is dependent on Arab countries for its Oil needs & Arabs supported Palestine.
- India’s dependence on Iranian Oil.
These reasons no longer pose a hurdle to India-Israel relationship as the Soviet Union has already over, India is ruled by “so-called” Hindu Nationalist Party BJP, Arabs have now better relationship due to Iran conflict. But the stance toward Palestine will change as BJP seems to stay in power in 2019 elections as supporting Palestine cause is just like India supporting freedom of Kashmir & India shouldn’t support Palestine which uses violence & kills innocent Jewish citizens.
Iran has vowed to destroy Israel, they’re arch enemies just like India and Pakistan but India has historical trade ties with Shia majority state and India is still dependent on Iran to fulfill its Oil & Petroleum needs. India chose to ignore international sanctions on Iran and continued buying Oil even under immense pressure from the USA to not to buy from Iran, but recently Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei declared India a tyrant and called for Jihad in Jammu & Kashmir, an Indian state. Needless to say, this doesn’t go well with Indians who see Iran as their “Friend”. In this sense, India is looking for alternative sources to fulfill its oil need, as many countries are willing to sell oil to India because of fall in Oil prices. India may have some convergence of interest with Israel in the matter of Iran.
Most of the experts focus on defense relationship between India and Israel but in fact, it is beyond just a defense partnership. India and Israel can work in the field of water management, agriculture, waste management, diamond trade, tourism & much more things. Israel is a start-up nation and India is a country for budding start-ups there is huge potential to increase the trade ties. Even though Indian Government supports the Palestinian cause and voted many times against Israel in past, but the stance is changing as evident when India abstained from the vote against Israel in one such resolution at UN.
Unlike Christians, Hindus don’t have any religious angle to have love and sympathy for Israel but they support Jews because they like the way Israeli defense forces tackle their enemy, whether it’s the famous “Six day War” or their intellect or the way they fight terrorism and tackle hostile neighbors. Indians live with the same kind of hostile neighbors and suffer from the menace of cross-border terrorism. Israel helped India in Kargil war, provided arms & ammunitions. India has a debt to pay to Israel and when the time comes India will stand with Israel but when the time comes, not till then India is ready to expose itself against Arab countries.
PM Modi and his counterpart PM Netanyahu have a special relationship, they call each other friends, they tweet to each other in their native language and they wish each other holiday greetings. Both come from right-wing party PM Modi from BJP and PM Netanyahu from Likud. Both have strict views towards menace of terrorism and both want foreign investment to make their countries an economic superpower.
PM Modi’s visit has been preceded by several other high-profile visits, including the trip of NSA Ajit Doval, several senior secretaries, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj. All these visits have laid the groundwork for several MoUs, many agreements are likely to be signed including major defence deals under Make in India program. There has been much excitement about three-day day visit in India as well as in Israel. Well, we have wait until July 4th.