Israel: India's friend in need, trusted indeed

Onkareshwar Pandey | Updated: Jul 05, 2017 02:25 IST

New Delhi [India] July 04 (ANI): Entire world watched red carpet welcome extended to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Tel Aviv airport by Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday which is surely to leave India's neighbours envy. Israel is India's friend in need, trusted indeed. The importance of PM Modi's visit for Israel could be understood by the two diplomatic gestures: First, Netanyahu personally welcomed PM Modi at airport and second, the Israeli Prime Minister greeted Indian Prime Minister in chaste Hindi- Namaste, aapka swagat hai (Namaste, you are welcome). PM Modi is visiting Israel at the invitation of the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, from July 4th-6th. PM Modi will call on the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Both the countries will also have a working meeting and PM Modi is invited for a dinner with the Israeli Prime Minister. It will also include high-level bilateral meetings and other various components which reflect the fabric of the Indo-Israeli relations. This significant visit, the first of an Indian Prime Minister to Israel, takes place on the backdrop of marking 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel, and will further upgrade the ever growing partnership between the two countries. The diplomatic relations between India and Israel were formally established in February 1992 when Israel opened its Embassy in Delhi and a few months later India opened its Embassy in Tel Aviv on 15 May 1992. Former Israeli Prime Minister Aerial Sharon was the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit New Delhi. It was Sharon who entered into bilateral trade and defense relations with India. PM Modi and Netanyahu are expected to cement the bilateral relations. Today, Israel has emerged as the most trusted ally of India and both countries have not only government to government contact, but also people to people contact. The Indian security analysts believe that "if we have Pakistan as neighbour, we must have Israel as our trusted friend and ally". Israel has always helped India at the time of crisis. On many occasions, it has provided crucial intelligence inputs to India. Be it the questions of war against terrorism or fight against the poverty or the struggle for technological progress, both countries are working hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder. And, this is beneficial for both. Israel has technology and India has the market. So, from the space to defence and agriculture to culture relations between these two nations are deepening systematically, scientifically, socially and sentimentally. That is why, if Israel is developing satellites, India is providing launching support to it. If India is wasting 70 per cent of its water in the drain, Israel is there to provide foolproof water supply system. Indo-Israel relations are growing very fast and at diverse levels. Israel Foreign Ministry rightly believes, India is the most pro-Israel nation, ahead even of the United States. However, the recent warm relations have a very cold past. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was joyous after emergence of Israel as an independent nation, Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress party were not in favour of creating Israel on the basis of religion. Thus, India opposed the partitioning of Palestine plan of 1947 and voted against Israel's admission in the United Nations in 1949. One year later, Nehru changed his mind and recognised Israel as a nation in 1950. However, Israel came to rescue India during 1962 Indo-Chinese war after Nehru wrote a letter and sought arms to fight with Beijing. In fact the ruling dispensations of the two countries share common philosophy of 'nationalism'. The two nations share many things that are common. It holds the promise of better and strengthened relationship between India and Israel. In the decisive battle with Pakistan in 1971 that created Bangladesh, the hero of the battle field was Lt Gen J F R Jacob. He was an Indian Jew. He was General Officer Commanding in Chief of Eastern Command of the Indian Army. Field Marshal Gen Sam Manekshaw was chief of the Army Staff then. Lt Gen Jacob's role in the war was heroic. Now both India and Israel are inching forward towards a better relationship. Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Yalun has said during his visit to India about the role of Israel in the field of defence supply to India. India has signed a number of Memorandum of Understanding with Israel in the field of agriculture, technology, defence industry, research and economy. In the field of micro irrigation projects, states like Harayana, Gujarat and Maharashtra stand to benefit largely from Israeli technology. Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has toured Israel earlier. It helped India even during the war of 1965 and 1971 with Pakistan. During the Kargil aggression too Israel helped India and reinforced Indian Army with supply of arms and ammunitions. Even today, Israel is providing various arms, ammunitions and technological support to India. It is also providing its expertise in the field of agriculture and water conservation. There is also an abiding interest in Indian culture, which is promoted with a variety of dance, music, traditional arts, crafts and cinema. A new Cultural Exchange Programme is also on the cards. Several Israelis avail Indian Council of Cultural Relations scholarships (seven every year) to study Hindi, dance, music and yoga in India. Hindi is taught at Tel Aviv and Hebrew University. During his visit, PM Modi is expected to sign several MoUs in the field of Defence, Science and Technology, Agriculture, Education and other areas, which will surely deepen the ties between the two countries. Israel is India's friend in need, trusted indeed. Let's hope for the best. India can proudly say "Neighbours envy, our pride". (The views expressed in this article are writer's personal) (ANI)

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