Arunansh B Goswami
An Indo-Israeli friendship ambassador.

Battles India fought with Israeli support

Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion meeting Krishna Nehru Hutheesing youngest sister of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Image source: Wikimedia.

Battles India fought with Israeli support: 1962, 1965, 1971 and 1999.

India and Israel are both post colonial nations, who have assiduously worked on protecting themselves from the ever too eager powers around them to gobble up their territory. Antisemitic forces around the world tried using their soft power and hegemonic influence from media to education, to create several generations of Indians and other Asians who were made to think, that Israel is an apartheid state, a vestige of European colonialism continuing their discriminatory policies! Engaging in blatant historical revisionism by trying to break, all legitimate historical connects of the Jewish people with the land of Israel and Yerushalayim, which is historically undeniable. The enemies of Israel leveled charges of apartheid against Israel, forgetting that Israel went on to show the world how color of your skin is not a determinant of your destiny, it saved several black African Jews the Beta Israelis, from religious persecution, when through Operations Moses and Joshua together the state of Israel, airlifted about one-third of the Ethiopian Jews to Israel and in May 1991, through Operation Solomon carried 14,000 Ethiopian Jews directly to Israel in military aircraft. Several Mizrahi Jews like Bnei Manashe who are Mongoloid Jews from India and Myanmar, call Israel their home, several brown Jews, like Cochin Jews of Malabar in India, Bnei Israeli Jews from Maharashtra, Baghdadi Jews and Bnei Ephraim Jews from India’s Telugu speaking areas call Israel their home too, and all of them now bear arms in Israel to protect the Jewish state with a sense of duty.

India and Israel Post Colonial History:


Several of India’s post independence politicians, were guided by erroneous notions of idealism, blindfolding themselves from on ground reality, and the vulnerability of India with an expansionist China, and a fundamentalist Islamic Republic of Pakistan on it’s borders and the emerging nexus between them. Their self assumption of being voices of the global South, and post colonial countries, cost them dearly when India was attacked by China in 1962, to burst this myth of Indian leadership as the Chinese thought Indians were harboring, and in turn China found itself more suitable for that leadership position. Though India formally recognized Israel on September 17, 1950, while it’s neighbors Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan have not done that even now in the year 2022. Still just recognizing Israel by India wasn’t enough, and India was no doubt late in establishing full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992. 

1962 Indo-Chinese war Israel supports India

Indian soldiers on patrol during the 1962, Indo-China war. Image source: Wikicommons.

India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s determined rejection of the US plan to place India in China’s seat at the UN Security Council was an example of “Nehruvian” foreign policy which was idealistic, naive and distant from ground realities bordering on a condemnable unneeded Sinophilia, for which India has been suffering since it’s independence with the multiple anti India steps taken by China in the UN Security Council. Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in a letter to Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, on 30 August, 1950, that India because of many factors, is certainly entitled to a permanent seat in the security council. But we are not going in at the cost of China.

China did not reciprocate the support India gave to China to make it a distinguished, well represented and well heard nation at global forums, rather China grew cautious and jealous of India’s rising stature in the developing world, and decided to destabilize the then existing order and replace India by itself as the champion of developing world’s interests. China attacked India in 1962, to gobble up Indian sovereign territory. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru reached out to Israel when the situation demanded. According to documents in the Israeli archives in Jerusalem part of a cable assessed by the Indian newspaper “ The Hindu” in 2017, at the peak of the 1962 India-China hostilities, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion wrote to Nehru expressing Israel’s “fullest sympathy and understanding”, and provided weapons to the Indian forces.

David Ben Gurion flanked by the members of his provisional government reading the Declaration of Independence in the Tel Aviv Museum Hall. Image source: Wikipedia.

The Israeli leader responded on November 2, 1962 to say: “All our efforts have been and are directed to the preservation of peace — in our area and throughout the world. Jerusalem, the name of our capital in Hebrew, means the city of peace. “I am in total agreement with the views expressed by Your Excellency (Nehru) that it is incumbent upon us to do all in our power. All states big or small must be guaranteed of their sovereignty. We believe that every possible support should be lent to every measure contributing towards easing of tension on your borders so that India will once again be able to devote its undivided energies under your distinguished leadership to construction and development.” 

A note from the same collection from 1968 reveals that India had sourced Israeli weapons during the war with China. Not wishing to alienate its Arab friends rather to appease them Nehru showed ungratefulness, and requested Israel to deliver the weapons in ships that did not fly the Israeli flags. However, Ben Gurion had put his foot down saying, “No flag. No weapons.” The weapons were eventually supplied in Israeli ships flying the Jewish state’s flag. Though India lost the power substantially because of Nehru’s flawed policies, but Israel stood as a real friend when India needed assistance to protect it’s sovereign territory.

1965 and 1971 Indo-Pakistan Wars

Lt Gen Niazi of Pakistan signing the Instrument of Surrender Pakistani Army under the gaze of Lt Gen Aurora of India . Image source: Wikipedia.

When Pakistan attacked India in 1965, Israel supplied M-58 160-mm mortar ammunition to India in the war against Pakistan (N. A. K. Browne, “A Perspective On India–Israel Defence And Security Ties”, Strategic Analysis 41, no. 4 (2017): 325-335). Israel was in middle of an arms shortage in 1971,  but prime minister Golda Meir stepped in to divert arms meant for Iran to India as per the book, 1971, by scholar Srinath Raghavan. During the 1971 India-Pakistan war, Israel gave India 160 mm Tempella mortars. At a time when the US and its allies publicly backed Pakistan and imposed an arms embargo on India, Shlomo Zabludowicz, a Polish Jew and a survivor of the horrific Auschwitz concentration camp, came to the aid of India.

Golda Meir with children of Kibbutz Shfayim. Image source: Wikimedia.

Remembered as a significant person in the growth and development of the now world-renowned Israeli armaments industry, Zabludowicz was India’s point man in its deliberations with Israel for the supply of critical weapons during the 1971 war. At that time, Shlomo was heading Establissments Salgad, a Liechtenstein-based firm that had already performed as a conduit for the supply of Israeli arms to India in both the 1962 and 1965 war.

1999 Indo-Pakistan Kargil War

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of India and a close friend of Israel. Image source: Wikipedia.

Nicolas Blarel in his book “The Evolution of India’s Israel Policy (OUP)” describes how India turned to Israel after finding itself short of crucial surveillance and military equipment during the Kargil conflict. In a first phase, Israel proved to be an important and reliable partner during the Kargil conflict by quickly providing India with necessary mortar ammunition and apparently also with laser-guided missiles for its fighter jets. India was promptly provided with laser-guided missiles for its Mirages from Israel. Despite pressures from the US and the international community, Israel agreed to speed up shipments of arms orders that had been submitted before the Kargil developments, including the delivery of Israeli Heron and Searcher Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. At a time when India was still facing technological exports sanctions, Tel Aviv’s quick reaction to India’s request for military assistance further increased its credibility as a reliable arms supplier. While the Kargil conflict was mostly an air and ground battle, there were also some important navy maneuvers in the Arabian Sea. The Indian navy had apparently been concerned that Pakistan could have used its American-made Harpoon missiles if it felt threatened by a naval blockade. The Indian navy also argued that there was urgency as the indigenous anti-missile defense (AMD) systems had failed to become operational. Consequently, a deal to purchase AMD system from Israel was negotiated by a committee headed by Vice-Admiral Arun Prakash, chief of naval personnel at naval Headquarters. Kargil and its implications for future navy operation paved the way for the purchase of the nine Barak-I AMD systems and missiles from IAI and Rafael in February 2001.

Israel India’s historic Defence Partner

10th President of Israel (middle) and Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces Gadi Eizenkot with Prime minister Narendra Modi. Image source: Wikipedia.

Now when the world is seeing new challenges from COVID-19 to a rising China in the Indo-Pacific, and Russia Ukraine conflict. India Israel global partnership should try providing substantial stability to the world, which Bharuch Hashem they are capable of. The I2U2, or the India, Israel, USA and UAE grouping has great scope to help protect rule based, world order, from disrupters who want to impose their intolerant and hegemonic governance and diplomatic system in this world. Together India and Israel shall defeat hate, and bias rampant in global forums against certain countries while ignoring human rights violations by other countries. India and Israel should work together to ensure world peace.

About the Author
Mr. Arunansh B. Goswami is a lawyer by profession in New Delhi India, also a historian by training. He has studied history at the historical and prestigious St. Stephen’s College in Delhi India, he has also read law at prestigious, Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi ( India ) which has given one of the highest number of Judges to Indian Supreme Court. He has worked as a research consultant with Union Minister of Steel and Civil Aviation of India, Mr. J. M. Scindia and Mrs. Priyadarshini Raje. Scindia titular Queen of the erstwhile princely state of Gwalior in India. Mr. Goswami has studied Israeli and Jewish History deeply and travelled extensively in Israel, and Uzbekistan to explore and research about sites associated with Jewish Prophets.
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