In Search of Achhe Din – NaMo Visits Israel
July 19th, 2017
Historic! This is the first time an Indian prime minister is visiting Israel since the Jewish state came into being in May 1948 – a state India voted against when the matter came before the UN. Modi’s visit also marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations by former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao, after the end of the Cold War, in 1992. Since, three ministers of External Affairs — Jaswant Singh, S M Krishna and Sushma Swaraj — and two Home ministers, L K Advani and Rajnath Singh, have travelled to Israel. From Israel, two presidents — Ezer Weizman and Reuven Rivlin – have come to India; the 2003 visit by prime minister Ariel Sharon was the icing on the cake.
Since relations were fully established in 1992, Israel has been a major player in India’s military-security calculations. It has emerged as a major supplier of weapons and seen as a potential partner in joint defense research and development. The bilateral security cooperation goes beyond arms trade and encompasses areas such as counter-terrorism, cyber security, homeland security, border management and intelligence sharing. If India were to entice Israel to be part of its Make in India campaign, especially in the military arena, a political visit becomes inevitable.
Let us accept the argument — for the time being — that Modi has chosen to tread the non-ideological path keeping in mind India's larger interest. After all, Israel has been a reliable ally, even during turbulent times.