Significance Of Modi’s Visit To Israel – OpEd


After 25 years of establishment of full diplomatic relations between India and Israel, Mr. Narendra Modi has been the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. Though President of India and some ministers from India have made official visits to Israel earlier, such visits have not been viewed as of any particular significance or consequence, since they were looked upon more as cosmetic visits.

Ground breaking visit

After establishing diplomatic relations, Israel’s President and Prime Minister have visited India more than a decade back. The fact that no previous Prime Minister of India, who is the real power center in India, visited Israel was mainly due to their anxiety not to antagonize the Muslim countries in the Middle East region, who were viewing Israel as their sworn enemy.

Mr. Modi has now touched down in Tel Aviv saying that he was proud to make a ground breaking visit to Israel. Mr. Modi’s statement terming the visit as ground breaking has a lot of significance in the present juncture.

Visit in compelling circumstances

Today, Israel and India need each other’s support and cooperation more than at any time in the past.

In the case of India ,close cooperation and understanding with Israel is even more important than that for Israel. Mr. Modi has gone to Israel in compelling circumstances. It is not for mere signing agreements on technical or cultural cooperation.

What compulsions for India?

In spite of Mr. Modi’s huge popularity in India and the strong leadership that he is providing, the unrest and terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir has become an irksome problem for Mr. Modi. The ground reality is that the terrorists and the separatists in Jammu & Kashmir seem to have gained some sort of foot hold and are waging almost open warfare with the Indian army.

India says that neighbor Pakistan is extending support to separatists and terrorists in Kashmir and Pakistan has repeatedly asserted that it supports what it calls as” liberation movement in Kashmir”.

While Pakistan is adopting such postures bordering on hatred against India, China’s increasing aggressive postures against India make everyone suspect about China’s intentions. Many hostile statements have come from China in recent days, which amount to threats of military attack , that is creating tension in the border. Close relationship between China and Pakistan at the preset time and their shared approach of hostility towards India make one suspect as to whether India will have to face conflicts on two fronts at the same time.

China has repeatedly adopted such aggressive approach towards India in the past but China never mentioned earlier about military intervention, It has been accusing India of supporting Tibetan refugees and the Dalai Lama and is now saying that Indian troops have entered Chinese territory which does not appear to be the fact. India has ignored China’s demand that the Dalai Lama should not be allowed to visit Arunachal Pradesh.

One gets an impression that China is deliberately creating a climate of confrontation with India and one would not know as to whether China would confine itself to hostile statements or would go beyond that.

Under the circumstances, Mr. Modi has to necessarily work out his strategies. With steadily growing economy in India, Mr. Modi would not want hostility in the border with China and Pakistan. But, if hostility were to be forced on India, then there is no alternative for Mr. Modi other than fighting back.

Today, India needs reliable friends abroad. President Trump of USA is widely considered to be unpredictable . European countries face multiple problems due to their permitting massive entry of refugees into Europe. In such circumstances, Mr. Modi cannot take for granted any meaningful support from USA or western countries. With huge trade and business opportunities being offered by China , most countries in the world including Russia are likely to remain as spectators in case of conflict between India and China / Pakistan.

Mr. Modi has the compulsions to look for reliable friends abroad.

Cooperation between India and Israel is of significance

Israel has now common interests with India in fighting terrorism and protecting territorial integrity.

Israel can be reasonably expected to side with India in case of any unfortunate conflict in the border. No doubt, Israel is a small country by size and population. But, the enormous inherent strength that the country has, as exhibited in the last seventy years, can certainly be a big asset for India, if Israel’s support for India would remain total.

Further, Israel stand cannot be ignored by US, even with a volatile President like Trump in the office.

No doubt, Modi’s visit to Israel is one of great significance.

Israel and India want to be seen together

Understanding Mr. Modi’s compulsions to cement relationships with Israel and realizing the benefits that Israel would get by fostering such close relationships, Israeli Prime Minister Mr. Bejamin Nethanyahu has responded to Mr. Modi’s hand shake with warmth.

The fact that Mr. Modi and Mr. Nethanyahu not only repeatedly shook hands but also hugged each other many times at every opportunity, particularly in full view of public and giving time for the photographers to take the shots, clearly highlight the fact that not only India and Israel want to be close to each other but want the whole world to know this ground breaking development, in their friendship and cooperation.

The world will not fail to see this trend and two countries namely China and Pakistan will view this developments with great interest and with anxiety. Of course, the Muslim countries in west Asia may choose to ignore the significance of the developing close relationships with India and Israel, since the Muslim countries have enough problems between themselves and old rhetorics against Israel are no more as strong as it was long back.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

One thought on “Significance Of Modi’s Visit To Israel – OpEd

  • July 6, 2017 at 7:13 am

    It is well explained that Western countries cannot be relied in case of conflict between India and China / Pakistan.

    PM Modi’s strategy is correct and the need of the hour.

    The author has put all the facts about the “ground breaking” event in style and with clarity.

    I have understood the events clearly now.

    My best compliments to the author.

    Panneerselvam D


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