Newspaper Article 27/08/2014
|According to Indian express (1st August) “opposition member in Lok sabha made a strong demand that India should take a clear stand on the war in Gaza”, saying “this is a clear violation of international law by Israel so we cannot afford to sit on the fence”
|As everyone knows that more than 1500 innocent Palestinians are being killed in Israeli air, naval, and ground attacks during past couple of weeks.But Indian foreign minister has said that India has diplomatic ties with both nations and “any discourteous reference can impact our relations with them”.To analyzing this situation observers say that it is an open secret that “India is the largest customer of Israeli military equipment and Israel is the second-largest military partner of India after Russia. As of 2009, the military business between the two nations is worth around US$9 billion. Military and strategic ties between the two nations extend to joint military training and space technology.] India is Israel’s largest defense market, accounting for almost fifty percent of Israeli sales.India is also the second-largest Asian economic partner of Israel In 2010, bilateral trade, excluding military sales, stood at US $4.7 billion. In August 2012, India and Israel signed a $50 million academic research agreement Currently, the two nations are negotiating an extensive bilateral free trade pact, focusing on areas such as information technology, biotechnology and agriculture “and intelligence sharing .
In this background not only Delhi government but also most of the Indian foreign policy experts are of the view that India must stand by Israel so why R Jagan Nathan (chief editor of the first post) has said under the heading of Gaza Crisis ” sympathy notwithstanding, India must stand by Israel. Indian’s best friend in West Asia is not any of the Arab countries but Israel. But there are three reasons why India seeks strong ties with the Arab Muslims world :our own domestic Muslim constituency ,the large Indian diaspora in the gulf and our dependence on west Asian oil.
Thanks to these three realities, India’s friendship with Israel is confined to closed doors and opaque deals. This policy is not specific to the NDA, but also Congress. India set up diplomatic relations with Israel under Narasimha Rao, and the big defence deals of the last 10 years were all signed by the UPA, which sets great store by the Muslim block vote.
While the feelings for Israel are stronger in the BJP, the basic foreign policy set under congress of cosying up to Israel behind closed doors and singing songs of friendship outdoors with Arab West Asia is likely to remain the norm under a Modi-led NDA too.
Mr Jagan Nathan says further “.As I have written in the past , India’s natural partners in the world are the US, Russia, Japan, South Africa, Vietnam and Israel (among many others, of course). The first three are important as a counterweight to China, and Israel is important to our defence and anti-terror stance”.
In the meantime, India is in uproar over voting for a UN Human Rights Council resolution to begin an investigation into Israel’s offensive on Gaza, with 29 countries (including BRICS) favoring the resolution in the 47-member council, with 17 nations, including European ones abstaining, and only the US voting against.
Opponents ask if Israel is India’s strategic partner with a lot of economic and defense strings attached – what’s the logic? What about pragmatic foreign policy?
In fact Through this double speak dehli is trying to appease both parties as aljazeera says India’s ‘balancing act’ on Gaza crisis.
This Indian policy of equidistance between Israel and Palestine faces criticism amid mounting death toll in Gaza” because no one can equalize right and wrong at a same time
That is why India seems to have pleased neither the Israeli nor the Palestinian side with its stand of ‘equivalence’ over the conflict in Gaza. Speaking to The Hindu, Israel’s acting Ambassador Yahel Vilan said New Delhi should take a more “clear line between the aggressor and the defender in this situation.”
And “Saleh Fhied Mohammad, the Minister and spokesperson of the Palestine Embassy in New Delhi, said Palestine was disappointed at the comparison the Indian statement had sought to make and wished India had instead called “a spade a spade.”.
Pakistan Observer : August 05
Disclaimer: Views expressed are of the writer and are not necessarily reflective of IPRI policy