India-Israel Strengthened Nexus

Written By: Dr. Mirwais Kasi

West Asia continues to occupy an important position in International Relations due to its geo-political location, for the entire region acts as a link between Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Red Sea, Atlantic Sea and Indian Ocean. The vast reserves of oil have perpetually attracted special interest from all over the world particularly from Western powers. The West Asia Policy of India had primarily been shaped by its friendly relations with the Arab countries and with a view to promote its national interests. India’s relations with Arabs were also influenced by the nature of its relations with Pakistan. India viewed that Pakistan regarded itself as closer to West Asia and projected India as anti-Islamic. It was to counter this pan-Islamic movement that India adopted a pro-Arab stance.


Even before independence, Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of Independent India, began co-operating with the Arab nationalists, and the Indian National Congress lent its support for the Arab’s struggle. The same consideration led India to extend its support to the Palestinian issue also. The Congress leaders, while sympathetic towards the plight of Jews in Europe were unresponsive to the idea of Israel. By the time the partition of Palestine became an issue in the United Nations, India had adopted an anti-Israel attitude and it was with this view that India opposed the partition of Palestine in the UN General Assembly in November 1947. When Israel came into existence in May 1948, India opposed the creation of the Jewish State and even voted against its creation. India regarded it as a theocratic state which was set up with the backing of imperialist powers. India however accorded de jure recognition to Israel in September 1950, stating that it was recognizing an established fact and that non-recognition was not only inconsistent with the overall relationship between the two member states, but would also limit India’s role as a possible peacemaker between the Arabs and the Israelis. The relationship was, however, kept at low key and no full-fledged diplomatic relations were then established because of Arab sentiments other than allowing the opening of Israeli Consulate in Bombay in 1955.

 

indiaisraelstr.jpgIsrael which courted non-aligned foreign policy in its early years was keen on improving relations with New Delhi, one of the NAM’s originators, but with little success. Pressure from the Arab bloc dissuaded India from accepting Israel’s overtures and led to the NAM adopting an anti-Israel policy. Israel’s gradual identification as an American ally over the 1960s further hindered good relations with India, which was highly suspicious of American foreign policy. The limited military assistance Israel rendered to India in its 1962 War with China and the India-Pakistan wars (1965 and 1971), as well as low key co-operation between their intelligence services over the years, elicited no change in New Delhi’s approach to the Jewish State. Even the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel made no dent in the formal hostility displayed by the Indian political elites against Israel from 1982 to 1988, India did not even allow full consular relations. India’s change in attitude toward Israel took place towards the end of Cold War, as it reassessed its foreign policy in view of fall of the Soviet Union. Adjusting itself in new global environments and new realities, India took a U-turn in its relations with Israel. India formally recognized Israel in January 1992 under Narasimha Rao’s premiership. The new BJP government of India was less considerate towards its largest Muslim minority who were more sympathetic towards Palestinian cause rather than Israel, likewise BJP government also neglected the Arab sentiments who were anti-Israeli in their approach. The normalization of relations left both India and Israel to explore as many avenues as possible. Since 1992, the two countries have exchanged several visits at different levels and signed several agreements, including “MoUs” to enhance their ties. Both states have been co-operating in various spheres of public policy including: intelligence, economy, culture, technology, security and military. The main interest of Israel lies in economic areas, while India’s major concern is related to military technology and security issues. The Indo-Israel equation is the emergence of a mutual equilibrium with each party deriving some advantages out of the new relationship. The smooth pace with which normalization has proceeded has rewarded Israeli’s patience and caused India to question why they had delayed completing the process for so long? The normalization has paid the Indian government well and is likely to benefit in future, too.

 

A flourishing Indo-Israel relationship has made a significant impact on the global politics by altering the balance of power not only in the Middle East, but also in South Asia and even in the larger Asian region. This bilateral relationship has worked to great disadvantage for Pakistan.

A flourishing Indo-Israel relationship has made a significant impact on the global politics by altering the balance of power not only in the Middle East, but also in South Asia and even in the larger Asian region. This bilateral relationship has worked to great disadvantage for Pakistan.


Pakistan essentially identifies many dangers to its national interests and security because of Indo-Israel nexus. Pakistan places Islamic ideology as the basic principle of its existence, which has always been taken by both India and Israel as a threat to their own ideologies – so-called Indian secularism and Zionism. Since 1992 both countries initiated propaganda tactics against Islamic Republic of Pakistan in which they tried to portray it as a state embodying extremism and fundamentalism. The level of cooperation and understanding between India and Israel in realm of defense and security is also a growing concern for Pakistan. The country consistently faces problems like ethnic divisions, sectarianism, suicide bombing etc., because of Indo-Israel unleashing of Forth Generation Warfare agenda. Security has become the overriding and foremost concern of Pakistan. The situation also aggravated in the past when country felt the risk of pre-emptive strike by Israel on its nuclear facilities with direct Indian assistance – by using India as a base to destroy Pakistan's nuclear facilities. Even in May 1998 before Pakistan carried out its nuclear tests, it put all its defense measures on red alert after receiving the intelligence that six modern aircraft loaded with sophisticated missiles and flown by Israeli pilots had landed on different air bases in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. The Indians in collaboration with Israel had laid electronic counter measures (ECM) frequency operated equipment network to neutralize Pakistan's electronic network at its nuclear facilities.

 

The country consistently faces problems like ethnic divisions, sectarianism, suicide bombing etc., because of Indo-Israel unleashing of foURth generation warfare agenda.

Besides that, Pakistan also faces a security threat because of Indo-Israel nexus in Kashmir. Both countries draw a parallel thinking on insurgencies in Kashmir and Palestine. This shared goal has led to better understanding of each other’s concerns. Both countries have been working to label the freedom fighters in Kashmir and Palestine as Islamic extremists and terrorists, which is neither in the interest of Pakistan nor in the interests of Kashmiris and Palestinians, keeping in view their fundamental right of self-determination. The Indo-Israel bilateral relations have been disturbing the regional equilibrium on the one hand and are also paving way for strong ties between U.S. and India on the other.


Similarly, India-Israel ties increased the concerns for Pakistan mainly because of the intensity of co-operation between the two states in the fields of defence. Due to this nexus, the strategic balance in the sub-continent is tilting fast against Pakistan. In coming years, it will be difficult to match the combined conventional military capability of Israel and India. Pakistan is especially concerned about the sale of Arrow anti-missile system that has the potential to neutralize part of nuclear ballistic missile capability. The Phalcon Airborne Early Warning, Command and Control (AEW&C) system will give India the capability to look deep into Pakistan’s territory with the result that it would be difficult for Pakistani war planes to move without being detected. The Barak Anti-missile system will gives the Indian Navy huge maneuver advantages.


To counter the threat of Indo-Israel nexus, Pakistan must frame different strategies and follow different tactics as to preserve its national interests and national security. Pakistan's policy must be multi-dimensional. Being a frontline state in war against terrorism, taking advantage from the environment Pakistan must ask U.S. for providing it with hi-tech military hardware, though U.S. may never give Pakistan a status of strategic partner as it was assured to Israel and India, however, Pakistan as a non-NATO ally, frontline state in war against terror and being a supply line state for NATO towards Afghanistan, can convince U.S. and NATO countries to pressurize India and Israel for abandoning their aggressive approach and activities against Pakistan. On the other hand, for long term benefits Pakistan must always keep the Chinese option at hand to neutralize these agendas which are a growing threat to regional peace and security. Pakistan must further cultivate its ties with Russia which can prove to be beneficial for fulfilling the need of hi-tech military hardware.

 

ECO will defiantly merge the interests of Pakistan,, Iran,, Turkey,, Central Asian States,, even Azerbaijan and Afghanistan with new members in shape of China and Russia. The success of ECO will minimize Indo--U.S. role in Central Asian region and Afghanistan which indirectly will block Israel''s involvement in the entire region.

Furthermore, Pakistan may also highlight the issue of Palestine between India and Israel. It will compel India to follow a single clear stance where it must choose one between the two options i.e., either to provide full fledged support to Palestinian cause or to go towards Israel. In both ways India may lose. If it supports Palestine then it will lose Israel and if it supports Israel then it may deprive itself from oil benefits of Arab world and may suffer from economic crisis. Pakistan may also highlight India’s closeness with Iran. As Iran and Israel are very hostile towards each other so India again may lose either Iran or Israel. This approach will be useful in countering India's hegemonic designs in the region. Likewise, as India takes China as a threat to security, there is a need to expose dual Indian policies and sensitise Israelis and Chinese about negative opportunist policies of India. Apart from that, Pakistan through various platforms like OIC, D8 etc., may expose India and Israel from regional and international security perspective. This will force India and Israel to review their policies towards Pakistan. Equally, Pakistan may also expose the aggressive designs and hegemonic agendas of both India and Israel which are becoming a direct threat for regional and international peace and prosperity.


In addition, the CPEC project appears to be a landmark of Pakistan-China friendly relations and CPEC is being viewed as a game changer and a path towards regional connectivity. To make CPEC more significant, Pakistan along with its allies of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) must strive for expanding the membership of ECO and for that China along with Russia must be granted its membership. With China and Russia as its members, ECO will have a new soul and it will rise as a more pragmatic paradigm towards regional connectivity.


ECO will defiantly merge the interests of Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Central Asian States, even Azerbaijan and Afghanistan with new members in shape of China and Russia. The success of ECO will minimize Indo-U.S. role in Central Asian region and Afghanistan which indirectly will block Israeli involvement in the entire region.


It is also pertinent that Israeli factor in Pakistan-India relations exacerbates the most devastating aspect of the rivalry between the two countries; an accelerated arms race. The military sales between India and Israel have proved to be detrimental for the fragile balance of power between India and Pakistan. In response Pakistan has been pursuing a policy aimed at balancing the strategic equation to ensure a credible deterrence against India and its nexus with Israel under immense strategic compulsions. The options left for Pakistan are many, however, these need to be framed and followed in pragmatic way as to achieve a favorable desired outcome. Therefore, Islamabad must employ multi-dimensional diplomacy as well as formulate effective strategies to counter the threat posed by Indo-Israel nexus.

 

The writer is Assistant Professor at Department of International Relations, University of Balochistan, Quetta.

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