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Modi’s visit to Israel

Jul 10,2017 - Last updated at Jul 10,2017

Since the arrival of Narendra Modi to the premiership of India, the Muslim community there has been ill at ease.

The man’s rhetoric and inciting language during his rule as a local state leader had caused large loss of life. However, his style as India’s prime minister mellowed and his rhetoric softened.

His last week’s 50-hour trip to Israel, the contracts he signed and his rebuke of Palestinian aspirations, came as a victory for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

Modi did not dignify historic Palestine with a visit, by journeying 30 minutes by car to Ramallah, the temporary seat of the Palestinian Authority.

Modi’s visit to Israel came as a result of long-standing relations between India and Israel. They have so much in common.

Both Indian and Israeli expatriates occupy prominent positions in America’s thriving IT sector.

Both have developed their nuclear and missile industries separately, and later in close cooperation with each other.

Both of them hate Pakistan and Iran and watch with sneaky eyes the development of Turkish events and influence.

Yet, what is scary about this relation is their joint interest in the GCC region.

India has great wealth and sources of income in the oil-rich GCC. Millions of Indians work in the Gulf countries, and any time they decide to strike and stifle all activity they can, especially in the UAE.

Israeli papers, on the other hand, are awash with statements of Israeli officials claiming strong relations, even alliances, with leading Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia.

While India is now acknowledged as a leading world economy and a high-tech powerhouse, it has abandoned the meek policies of Krishna Menon, a former minister of defence of India.

India was instrumental in separating Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1970, and threatened to intervene in Fiji after the Fijian army unseated the elected Indian-origin prime minister in the 1970s.

Israel would like to pose as an ally of some Gulf states and, just as it does with India, it acts as an economic and technology agent for both the Gulf and India in the Western world.

Arabs and Indians go a long way in history; their relations extend over three millennia.

They have witnessed ups and downs, yet they always withstood the test of time.

If India shifts its role from friendly partner and neighbour to bully, it should expect a reaction.

If it begins to waver on the Palestinian issue, then Arabs are free to reconsider their relations with Pakistan and their position on Kashmir.

Yet, none of the two parties should allow things to deteriorate. 

Modi is poised to win the next elections. The Congress party is not expected to be able to change that outcome. 

Maintaining a good working relations with the Congress party is a very good policy. India is too important to lose as an ally, and Arab diplomacy should go for the long haul.

Regardless of the soft overtones Israel expresses to our brothers in the GCC, an Indian-Israeli alliance going astray is not a threat to the Palestinian cause, but a much greater one to the GCC.



The writer is a former Royal Court chief, deputy prime minister and member of Senate. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.

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