TopicsGeneral TopicsIndia – Israel Relations- A Strong Partnership Rooted in Shared Interests

India – Israel Relations- A Strong Partnership Rooted in Shared Interests

India and Israel have cultivated a deep and enduring diplomatic relationship since 1992, when they officially established diplomatic ties. While India recognized Israel in 1950, the formal diplomatic engagement took place several decades later. This partnership has not only grown over the years but also stands out as a testament to their common strategic interests and shared security concerns.

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    Diplomatically, India and Israel have solidified their collaboration through various bilateral consultation mechanisms, focusing on critical sectors such as water resource management, agriculture, counter-terrorism, and defense. These consultations have played a pivotal role in fostering cooperation and knowledge exchange in areas vital to both nations’ development and security.

    The economic aspect of India-Israel relations is equally noteworthy. The two countries engage in trade, with India importing rough diamonds from Israel, and merchandise trade being primarily facilitated through the Eilat port on the Red Sea. In the fiscal year 2022-23, the total trade between India and Israel, encompassing merchandise and services, reached an estimated USD 12 billion. This underscores the mutually beneficial economic collaboration that continues to flourish.

    On the defense front, Israel has emerged as a critical partner for India. After Russia, Israel is India’s second-largest source of military hardware. Remarkably, approximately 42.1% of all Israeli arms exports find their way to India. This partnership extends beyond mere transactions; it includes valuable support during crucial moments. During the Kargil war, Israel’s assistance was instrumental, as it integrated its Litening laser designator pod into Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 fighters, enhancing India’s military capabilities.

    Why is India supporting Israel?

    In recent years, India’s foreign policy stance towards the Middle East has witnessed a significant transformation, marking a departure from its traditional approach. Historically, India has been known for its support of the Palestinian cause, citing reasons such as Mahatma Gandhi’s opposition to a Jewish state in Palestine, the presence of a sizable Muslim population, and the necessity of maintaining cordial relations with Arab nations.

    Back in 1974, India made history by becoming the first non-Arab state to officially recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. This unwavering solidarity with Palestine remained a cornerstone of India’s diplomatic relations in the Middle East for decades.

    However, a notable shift has taken place, coinciding with the rise of anti-Muslim and anti-minority politics, largely represented by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Indian politics. This shift has manifested in India’s growing support for Israel, marking a profound change in the country’s traditional Middle East policy.

    One of the defining moments in this shift was Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s prompt expression of support for Israel during a crucial period on October 7. In response to unfolding events, Modi stated, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour.” This statement was seen as a testament to India’s evolving alignment in the Middle East.

    This transformation has many different, intricate causes. The BJP’s rise to power and its commitment to a Hindu nationalist agenda have been instrumental in shaping India’s evolving foreign policy. This approach has led to a reevaluation of alliances and priorities in the Middle East.

    India-Israel Strategic Partnership: A Closer Look at Their Strong Alliance

    India and Israel have forged a robust strategic alliance, marked by increasing cooperation in various fields, including military, intelligence, and counter-terrorism efforts. Their partnership, which has been on the rise in recent years, holds immense significance in the ever-evolving geopolitical landscape.

    • Enhanced Military and Intelligence Collaboration

    India and Israel have strengthened their military ties significantly. Their defense collaboration encompasses arms deals, technology transfers, and joint military exercises. This collaboration extends to intelligence sharing, which has proven vital in addressing regional security challenges.

    • Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism

    In an effort to combat global terrorism, India and Israel established a Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism. This initiative underscores their shared commitment to tackling the common threats posed by terrorist organizations.

    • Key Agreements for Strengthening Ties

    In February 2014, both nations signed three pivotal agreements. The first, “Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters,” reinforces their commitment to fighting transnational crime and upholding the rule of law. The second agreement, “Cooperation in Homeland Security,” highlights their shared goal of ensuring the safety and security of their citizens. The third agreement, “Protection of Classified Material,” underscores the importance of safeguarding sensitive information, a critical aspect of their collaboration.

    • Diplomatic and Economic Bond

    Apart from their defense and security partnership, India and Israel have cultivated closer ties in business and politics. The economic collaboration has seen trade and investment relations flourish, benefiting both countries. The political alignment is not only driven by mutual interests but also a shared commitment to democratic values.

    • Global Context

    It’s worth noting that India, in addition to its strong alliance with Israel, maintains a close strategic partnership with the United States, a staunch ally of Israel. This interconnected web of international relations reflects the evolving dynamics of geopolitical alliances in the 21st century.

    What is the relationship between India and Israel in 2023?

    In 2023, India and Israel marked a significant milestone as they celebrated 30 years of diplomatic relations, solidifying a strong and forward-looking partnership. This enduring relationship has seen remarkable growth and cooperation in various fields.

    The journey toward this historic anniversary began in 1992 when India officially recognized Israel. Over the years, both nations have worked diligently to strengthen their ties, fostering collaboration in areas such as defense, technology, agriculture, and more.

    A pivotal moment in the history of these bilateral relations occurred in 2017 when India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, made history by becoming the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. The visit signified the growing importance of this partnership, as it was aimed at bolstering economic and strategic cooperation. In the wake of his visit, Prime Minister Modi expressed his solidarity with Israel, emphasizing that “India stands firmly with Israel.”

    The foundation for this enduring friendship rests on shared values and interests, including a commitment to countering terrorism and ensuring regional stability. In recent years, the India-Israel relationship has expanded rapidly, resulting in a wide array of collaborative initiatives and joint ventures. This includes cooperation in fields like defense technology, water resource management, and cybersecurity.

    The geopolitical landscape in the Middle East has also played a role in the deepening of ties. The Israel-Hamas conflict, for instance, has brought both nations closer, with India expressing its support for Israel during challenging times.

    As we look ahead, the partnership between India and Israel is expected to continue flourishing, bringing mutual benefits and contributing to the prosperity and security of both nations. The 30th anniversary serves as a testament to the enduring strength of their friendship and the promise of even closer collaboration in the future.

    Which country is more powerful, India or Israel?

    In 2023, India and Israel stand strong in the global arena, with notable accomplishments and contributions that bolster their rankings and international prominence. While their paths may differ, their positions reflect the essence of power, be it economic prowess, international partnerships, or military might.

    India’s Ascent on the Global Stage

    In 2023, India made its mark by securing the 14th spot in the coveted list of the world’s most powerful nations. This achievement is a testament to India’s multifaceted growth and influence, driven by a combination of factors that include robust economic conditions, strategic international alliances, and a formidable military force.

    At the heart of India’s power projection is its military strength, where it proudly holds the fourth position on the Global Firepower Index (GPI), competing against 145 countries. With a defense apparatus designed for the modern era, India’s military capabilities showcase its commitment to safeguarding its sovereignty and contributing to global peace.

    Israel’s Unyielding Position

    In the same breath, Israel shines as one of the world’s most politically influential and militarily strong nations. With its military prowess drawing attention on the global stage, Israel has consistently ranked high in power assessments. According to the 2022 US News & World Report, Israel’s military prowess secures the fourth spot, standing shoulder to shoulder with military giants like Russia, the United States, and China.

    The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) command an impressive arsenal, boasting 241 fighter jets, 48 attack helicopters, and an imposing fleet of 2,200 tanks. But what truly sets Israel apart is its cutting-edge Iron Dome missile defense system, valued at billions of dollars. This advanced technology provides a shield against potential threats and underscores Israel’s unwavering commitment to safeguarding its security.

    In a world where power dynamics are constantly evolving, India and Israel’s rankings and strengths signal their continued influence and contribution to global stability. While each country’s journey is unique, their resilience, innovation, and strategic foresight keep them at the forefront of the world’s most powerful nations.

    FAQ’s on India-Israel Relations

    How did the diplomatic relationship between India and Israel begin?

    India and Israel officially established diplomatic ties in 1992. India had recognized Israel in 1950, but formal diplomatic engagement happened several decades later.

    What are the key areas of cooperation between India and Israel?

    India and Israel cooperate in various sectors, including water resource management, agriculture, counter-terrorism, and defense. They have bilateral consultation mechanisms to foster collaboration in these critical areas.

    Why has India's foreign policy shifted towards supporting Israel despite historically backing the Palestinian cause?

    India's foreign policy shift is influenced by complex factors, including the rise of Hindu nationalism represented by the BJP, reevaluation of alliances in the Middle East, and shared interests in security and technology.

    What is the economic relationship between India and Israel?

    India and Israel engage in trade and economic collaboration, with India importing rough diamonds from Israel. In the fiscal year 2022-23, the total trade between both countries reached approximately USD 12 billion.

    How has the India-Israel strategic partnership evolved over the years?

    The India-Israel partnership has grown significantly, encompassing enhanced military and intelligence collaboration, the establishment of a Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, and key agreements in areas like criminal matters, homeland security, and protection of classified material. Their alliance extends beyond defense to politics and economics.

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