India & Israel – Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs… Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home Mahatma Gandhi

India, Israel, Palestine, CBI, Narendra Modi, There was a time in Indian history when Palestinians were considered to be an oppressed people by Indian leaders, when India showed their solidarity with Palestine during the Gandhi-Nehru-led Indian National Movement and showed their active support for the anti-colonial struggle of other colonies, including the Palestinians and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. In 1974, India was the first non-Arab state to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the official representative of Palestinians. India treated Israel with much the same diplomatic disregard it reserved for apartheid in South Africa.

But with the passage of time and transformation in the leadership/ideology of India from a secular state to Hindu nation, the liberation organizations of Palestine also became terrorist organizations in their sight. At first India adopted nonaligned and pro-Arab policy, where India kept supporting the Palestinian cause to maintain relations with the Arab world. But at the end of Cold War when they joined the group of the unipolar American super power, India realized the fact that Palestinians are oppressed Muslims and cannot help them in any way. On the other hand Israel has a strong lobby in USA, this changed their views regarding Palestinians and brought them closer to Israel. In January 1992, India officially established diplomatic relations with Israel.

Today, when the whole world including Jews of different countries are raising their voice against the aggression of Zionists, trends like #IndiaWithIsrael are trended all over the world on twitter and stories like “Indians offer biryani comfort to Israeli troops” are making headlines of Indian newspapers.

Today the Indian government’s voice in support of Palestinians of Gaza cannot be heard because the voice for the support of Palestinians is muffled by the Indian leaders because of nurturing diplomatic relation and their dependency on Israel in military defense as Israel is the second largest exporter of military equipment to India.

In 1997 Ezer Weizman became the first Israeli state head to visit India. India negotiated its first defense deal with Israel during the visit of President Ezer Weizman that involved the purchase of Barak 1 vertically-launched surface-to-air (SAM) missiles.  Indian Navy showed interest in Barak-1 to counter Pakistan’s three P3-C II Orion maritime strike aircraft and 27 Harpoon sea-skimming anti-ship missiles obtained from the United States. A  Rs.1,150 crore deal was signed on October 23, 2000. Soon after the signing of this deal, Barak Missile bribery scandal surfaced in the Indian media, according to which kickbacks were received by the Indian government officials in this as well as 14 other defense deals. The official corruption probe was opened in 2006 that led to several high-profile arrests including the including the Samata Party ex-treasurer R.K. Jain and the defense deal of the Barak missiles had been halted by the Indian defense ministry until the completion of the investigation.

After investigating this case for 7 years Indian CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) filed a closure report in Barak missile deal in Dec-2013 and said that it was closing the case due to “lack of evidence.”

On the other hand Indian Ministry of Defense approved additional 262 Barak missiles for the navy worth Rs.880 even before the filling of this closure report by CBI.

Other such defense deals between India and Israel includes 32 “Searcher” Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Electronic Support Measure sensors, an Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation simulator system, upgrading of the IAF’s Russian-made MiG-21 ground attack aircraft, two 82-foot Super Dvorah MK II patrol craft, 15 UAVs and India is also interested in buying Israeli Iron Dome. This makes Israel the second largest arms supplier to India after Russia.

India is not only impressed with the military advancement of Israel but also consider Israel as a role model in oppression – India not only imports the defense equipment but also oppression techniques used by Israel against Palestinians, specifically to deal with the freedom movements in Kashmir.

Since 2003 Israel has not only trained thousands of Indian military personnel in counterinsurgency but also equipped Indian soldiers with 3,400 Tavor assault rifles, 200 Galil sniper rifles, as well as night vision and laser range finding and targeting equipment as result of $30 million agreement with Israel Military Industries (IMI). Pakistan also suspects that Israeli army officers travel to Indian occupied Kashmir disguising themselves as tourists to train Indian security forces with counter-terrorism operations.

Although India has voted in favor of United Nations Human Rights Council investigation into Israel’s ongoing offensive in Gaza but this vote was largely a symbolic vote and an face saving act as other than US no one voted against the investigation. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not only mute over the Israeli aggression in Palestine but also trying to silence the voices raised by other politicians as recently Prime Minister blocked parliamentary votes to condemn Israeli actions.

Gone are the days when India was a secular state and treated Israel with much the same diplomatic disregard it reserved for apartheid South Africa. Today how can Indian leadership speak in favor of Palestinians and against Israel when both India and Israel are the human rights violators, both are violators of UN resolutions, both are oppressors, both are brothers in bloodshed of innocent people and both have identical ideologies of Zionism and Hindutva. Today they are the birds of same feather trying to fly together.

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Atiq is an IT professional, his area of interest are Socio-Politico issues of subcontinent and regional security issues with a special focus on Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. Can be reached at and tweets at @atiqpkkh.

Discussion1 Comment

  1. Religious terrorism is gaining magnitude and intensity. It’s time for all peace loving, democratic nations to unite and fight this.

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