India-Israel ties are blossoming like never before, & credit must go to Prime Minister Modi for squashing the decades-old hesitance between the two countries.
Prime Minister Modi has highlighted a $250 billion defence programme to be implemented by 2025 to effectively counter the dual threat of Pakistan & China. And one nation which will play a massive role in helping India modernise its forces is Israel.
India is close to signing two defence deals with Israel before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Israel in July.The deals include anti-tank missiles & a naval air defence weapon system.
The deals for Spike anti-tank missiles for the Indian Army & Barak-8 air defence missiles for its navy are expected to be finalized in the next two months. Both the deals are worth $1.5 billion&will see the delivery of the 8,000 missiles.
Israel was the third-largest arms supplier to India in the three fiscal years ending March 2016, having bagged 10 deals worth a total of 76 billion rupees ($1 billion) with only the U.S. & Russia having made more defence deals.Ever since Narendra Modi has come to power, India-Israel ties have become deeper & have expanded on many fronts.
“India is gradually disengaging itself from its traditional & ideological foreign policy approach in the Middle East,” said Alvite Singh Ningthoujam, a senior research associate at the Vivekananda International Foundation.
“It is also a clear message that India does not anymore have qualms in getting closer to Israel, & is wielding an independent foreign policy & not at the cost of its relations with any other countries in the region.”
The Congress party never gave impetus to India-Israel ties because a certain community in India opposed closer relations with Israel. People like AsaduddinOwaisi have openly criticized Israel in parliament as being ‘anti-Islam’ because of the way Israel responds militarily to Palestine’s misadventures. Congress feared losing support among India’s Muslim community, even if it was at the cost of India’s needs.
For Prime Minister Modi, India comes first, & India needs greater cooperation with Israel not only on the military front but even more so on the technological front. Possibly the highest point in India-Israel ties will be PM Modi’s visit to Israel in July.
India & Israel face similar problems – radical Islamic terrorism & aggressive neighbours. Israel has the technology & needs a market for it, & there cannot be a better market for the same than India’s rapidly growing economy. India was the only nation where Jews weren’t persecuted, & Israel had officially recognized it.
Both nations are natural allies, & probably Israel is the only nation in the world whom India can trust above everyone else. Israel has helped India in tough times in the past in situations where it had nothing to gain (unlike Russia or the US), & this glorious history makes our ties everlasting.