The decision of India to start formal relation with Israel was based on changes in the international scenario in 1992. It was the beginning of post-cold war era with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, India’s strong ally for a long period. In the new situation India desired the support and collaboration with major international powers like the United States, especially in the wake of the political turmoil in Kashmir. In this respect India had two objectives in promoting its relation with the US. Firstly, to overcome the propaganda unleashed by Pakistan on Kashmir situation. Secondly, India required strategic cooperation with the US due to the demise of the Soviet Union, the leading exporter of arms to India. It was imperative for India to modernise Indian weaponry. At the same time India was fully aware of the complexities in establishing strong ties with the US. In this context India found Israel as a best option of appeasing the US line of policy. It is to be noted that India announced its decision to formally establish relations with Israel on the eve of Prime Minister Narasimha Rao’s visit to the US.
The most important outcome in the Indo-Israel relationship was that India emerged Israel’s second largest trading partner in Asia after Hon Kong and Israel became India’s largest supplier of military equipment after Russia.Although India’s relation with Israel started at a low profile, a sea change took place after the NDA came to power in 2014 India soon became Israel’s closest ally in Asia with strategic, defence and intelligence cooperation growing rapidly. India became the biggest market for Israeli arms. Israel supplied not only military hard wares but also several high-techs, missile radar, border monitoring equipment and other similar high-tech military hardwires, critical weaponry such as wide array of surveillance items, electronic warfare systems, a ground based Green Pine ABM radar, and phalcon airborne warning and control systems. These arms sales were part of a declared NDA policy to forge an alliance among India, United States and Israel.
In addition, several thousand Indian soldiers have been provided with “anti-insurgency training in Israel” to enhance Israel’s intelligence-gathering capability. The geopolitical implications of the collaboration between India and Israel are grave and manifold. India’s close collaboration with Israel is fundamentally to woo the United States as well as to build a new strategic relation vis-à-vis Pakistan and China.
Pakistan essentially identifies many dangers to its national interests and security because of Indo-Israel nexus. Pakistan places Islamic ideology as the basic principle of its existence, which has always been taken by both India and Israel as a threat to their own ideologies – so-called Indian secularism and Zionism. Since 1992 both countries initiated propaganda tactics against Islamic Republic of Pakistan in which they tried to portray it as a state embodying extremism and fundamentalism. The level of cooperation and understanding between India and Israel in realm of defense and security is also a growing concern for Pakistan. The country consistently faces problems like ethnic divisions, sectarianism, suicide bombing etc., because of Indo-Israel unleashing of Forth Generation Warfare agenda. Security has become the overriding and foremost concern of Pakistan. The situation also aggravated in the past when country felt the risk of pre-emptive strike by Israel on its nuclear facilities with direct Indian assistance – by using India as a base to destroy Pakistan’s nuclear facilities. Even in May 1998 before Pakistan carried out its nuclear tests, it put all its defense measures on red alert after receiving the intelligence that six modern aircraft loaded with sophisticated missiles and flown by Israeli pilots had landed on different air bases in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. The Indians in collaboration with Israel had laid electronic counter measures (ECM) frequency operated equipment network to neutralize Pakistan’s electronic network at its nuclear facilities.
Besides that, Pakistan also faces a security threat because of Indo-Israel nexus in Kashmir. Both countries draw a parallel thinking on insurgencies in Kashmir and Palestine. This shared goal has led to better understanding of each other’s concerns. Both countries have been working to label the freedom fighters in Kashmir and Palestine as Islamic extremists and terrorists, which is neither in the interest of Pakistan nor in the interests of Kashmiris and Palestinians, keeping in view their fundamental right of self-determination. The Indo-Israel bilateral relations have been disturbing the regional equilibrium on the one hand and are also paving way for strong ties between U.S. and India on the other.
The military sales between India and Israel have proved to be detrimental for the fragile balance of power between India and Pakistan. In response Pakistan has been pursuing a policy aimed at balancing the strategic equation to ensure a credible deterrence against India and its nexus with Israel under immense strategic compulsions. The options left for Pakistan are many, however, these need to be framed and followed in pragmatic way as to achieve a favorable desired outcome. Therefore, Islamabad must employ multi-dimensional diplomacy as well as formulate effective strategies to counter the threat posed by Indo-Israel nexus.
Author is a Social Activist and Postgraduate in Political Science and Cyber Law from the university of Kashmir and can be reached at sa[email protected]