India-Israel Relations refers to the bilateral ties between the Republic of India and the State of Israel.
Nature of Relations
The two countries enjoy an extensive economic, military and strategic relationship. India is the largest buyer of Israeli Military equipment and Israel; is the second largest defense supplier to India after Russia.
Israel’s friendship with India embarked from iconic war between Israel and ottoman kingdom, similarly Israel stood with India in tough situations and sent aid to India in historic Indo-Pak war, 1971.
Just after Independence – In 1948 Israel was declared and India’s Congress government maintained a distance from Israel and supported Palestine. India voted against Israel admission in the UN in 1949 and did not recognize Israel as a nation in 1950.
India Pakistan war 1971 – India needed arms and ammunition for a war, Pakistan received huge military assistance from Middle East and the western power. With no diplomatic ties with Israel, India got a support from Israel in the form of arms and mortars in exchange of establishing diplomatic ties with India.
The diplomatic ties, however, could only be established in 1992 after Soviet Union collapsed and India’s new ‘Look West Policy’ was implemented.
Kargil War – Kargil war was an eye opener for India’s deficiencies in intelligence and military forces and was not prepared for the high altitude combat. Israel helped India to build strategy against intruders. The agreement over the speed up of shipment of arms order was undertaken.
There was a strong oppose from US to Israel supporting India. But Israel not only delivered UAV but also provided photographs from its military satellites. Kargil helped to sow seeds of trust between India and Israel which later has transformed into long lasting bond.
The Ancient Connection
. The history of Jewish people in India dates back to ancient times, where Judaism was one of the first foreign religions to arrive in India.
. Indian Jews are a religious minority of India. Both Indian and Israeli population has a positive outlook towards each other’s country.
Increased Cooperation and establishment of Diplomatic Relations
India and Israel have increased co-operation in military and intelligence ventures since the establishment of diplomatic relations. The rise of extremist terrorism in both the nations has generated a strong strategic alliance between the two.
India is the largest buyer of Israeli military equipment. From 1999 to 2009, the military business between the two nations was worth around $9 billion. Military and strategic ties between the two nations extend to intelligence sharing on terrorist groups and joint military training.
. As of 2014-18 India is the third largest Asian trade partner of Israel, and tenth-largest trade partner overall. In 2014, bilateral trade, excluding military sales, stood at US$4.52 billion. Bilateral between India and Israel grew from $200 million in 1992 to $4.52 billion in 2014. India is Israel’s tenth-largest trade partner and import source, and seventh-largest export source.
. India’s major exports to Israel include precious stones and metals, organic chemicals, electronic equipment, plastics, vehicles, machinery, engines, pumps, clothing and textiles and medical and technical equipment.
Modi Regime influences Relations between India-Israel
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration further expands the relations, with India abstaining from voting against Israel in the United Nations in several resolutions. As of 2015, the two nations are negotiating extensively for bilateral free trade agreement. The main focus area is information technology, biotechnology, and agriculture.
India and Israel are a unique example of countries separated by geography, ideologies here come together primarily owing to the commonality of the problems of hostile neighborhood and Islamic terror they face and buttressed by the need of mutual support.
India and Israel not only shares military ties but also the Agricultural sector, Water Management, high-tech innovations.
India and Israel have focused their efforts on border security: Israel has sold India Motion detectors and other monitoring equipment to track infiltration across the Line of Control (LOC) between India and Pakistan.
Israel also sold unmanned Aerial vehicles (UAVs) to India for high-altitude surveillance and has offered to provide anti-insurgency training for Indian forces in the area as well.
Government Policies/Approach towards Israel
.Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s approach towards Israel is different from that of his predecessors is that he has systematically tried to de-hyphen India’s ties with Israel, ties with the Arab countries and Iran.
. Both the relationships are important as per the Indian Government, and can be pursued without affecting one another adversely.
. India shows its reluctance to be hyphenated with Pakistan in major countries policies towards the subcontinent; Modi too will like too develop healthy relations with Israel and individual Arab country and Iran on their respective merits without interlinking the two.