India–Israel relations refers to the bilateral ties between the Republic of India and the State of Israel. The two countries enjoy an extensive economic, military and strategic relationship.
The relation of India and Israel goes back to the 1950s when newly Independent India finally recognize Israel as a nation. What seem like a simple democratic decision was in fact one the most controversial decision in the history of India . A country surrounded by Muslim dominating states and home to a large number of Muslim population . India at that time became one of the few country in the world and first in South Asia to recognize Israel as a nation . This decision turn out to be milestone in India’s diplomatic strategy.
Since the start of Cold War India choose itself to not to formally aligned with or against any major power bloc and started Non-Aligned Movement . The course of this policy took a dramatic turn after Sino- Indian war of 1962 and India Pakistan war of 1965 when India realize that not only it’s neighbor carry a hostile attitude but they are also ahead in terms of economic and military strength . This force India to increase in ties with Soviet Union as to increase it’s military and economic power to fight it’ neighbor and hence increase it’s distance from United States . India always maintain ties with Israel , a long term partner of United States , which hold a large number of Jews in powerful position in US Congress . This give India an indirect and unofficial support of United Stated . Hence even after having close ties with Soviet Union , India never got on the hit list of United States.
The most important milestone in this relationship came in 1998 when India conducted it’s second nuclear test . The country receive heavy criticism from almost all western nation but welcoming support from France and Israel .Israel once again showed it’s support during Kargil war in 1999 when Indian fighter plane was not able to target enemy bunker situated at height of 160000 ft due to lack of modern smart bombs , without any hesitation Israel sent a kit of 100 laser guided bomb which prove vital later as battle progress . Indian Air force later thanked Israel for it’s support.
India has never been behind in returning the favor in one way or another.India recently launched a military satellite for Israel through its Indian Space Research Organisation . India is Israel’s largest defense market, accounting for almost fifty percent of Israeli sales . The military business accounts for about US$9billion,this not only provide financial support to Israel but also help in creating large number of jobs in various sectors . The two nations are negotiating an extensive bilateral free trade pact, focusing on areas such as information technology, biotechnology and agriculture . India is building closer ties with Israel in the areas of nanotechnology, information technology, water technology and biotechnology. In 1998, the Indo-Israel Joint Symposium on Human Genome was held in Jerusalem.The number of tourists from India visiting Israel touched 20,000 in the year 2007.By 2010, India replaced Korea as the top source market for Israel from Asia with 41,000 tourist arrivals. Indian tourists were also the biggest spenders in Israel with an average of $1,364, outranking the average tourist expenditure in Israel of $1,091.
The two nation also share various cultural ties. The world’s first Jewish-Hindu interfaith leadership summit, spearheaded by Hindu organisations in India and Jewish organisations in Israel, as well as the American Jewish Committee, was held in New Delhi on February 2007.In June 2009, another Hindu-Jewish interfaith meet was held in New York and Washington. The International Hindu-Jewish Leadership Dialogue was hosted by the American Jewish Committee, the Hindu American Foundation, and the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha and was sponsored by the World Council of Religious Leaders.
As the Chief Rabbi of Israel Mertzger quoted:”For thousands of years we have marched on parallel causes and have now built bridges of cooperation between the two religions. Jews have lived in India for over 2000 years and have never been discriminated against. This is something unparalleled in human history”.
India- Israel not only share mutual threat from same enemy for the same reasons but also share same interest in working toward self reliance , technological advancement and infrastructure development . This 65 year of friendship has proved that together both the countries can not only survive in the hostile environment they live in but also thrive against all odds . Hence goes the saying “United we stand , divide we fall”.