Indo Israel relations have always represented a diplomatic anomaly - India overtly ignored Tel Aviv, despite the bilateral relations flourishing subliminally. As the two countries celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations, Prime Minister Modi broke the long-standing diplomatic impasse with his recent visit. Whether it was on account of a morally hyphenated stance on the Palestinian issue or due to the obsolete non-alignment policy, Modi’s visit corrected the historic wrong. Led by Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Israeli establishment spared no effort to make the visit momentous. For Israel who has been more forthcoming about forging deeper ties with India, it is a much needed shot in the arm. But the most significant takeaway is India’s willingness to shed its inhibitions and assert boldly its choice of friends and where its strategic interests lie.
One important aspect of India-Israel relations today is defence cooperation. Israel is now the third-largest arms provider to India after Russia and the US, while India is Israel’s largest market for military hardware. Tel Aviv has also shown greater inclination in joint ventures with Indian companies and DRDO in the defence arena, with more liberal regulations than any other country. Modi’s visit has given a further boost to the Indo-Israel defence partnership, a field where both countries can develop a strategic relationship.
The Doklam impasse refuses to fade away like most other border disputes. That Bhutan border is involved and India is steadfast in its resolve to protect Bhutanese territory and its own strategic interests, implies that this trilateral issue may simmer and fester. But India must stand by its stance to send out a clear message to Beijing about its strategic interests, and of course avoid brinksmanship as escalation would be in no one’s interest.
As always, this issue carries a number of fascinating features on a range of subjects connected with defence and security. I wish the readers an enjoyable read, and a big ‘thank you’ for your feedback, most of which has been very positive.