Skip to comments.Editorial: (Israel should) Seek India's support
Posted on 09/07/2003 11:43:12 AM PDT by anotherview
Sep. 6, 2003
Editorial: Seek India's support
Several months ago, while visiting Washington, Indian National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra addressed members of the American Jewish Committee and recommended that free societies join hands to combat terrorism.
He noted that India, America, and Israel are all targeted by the terrorist scourge, and ought to develop "multilateral mechanisms to counter it... Such an alliance would have the political will and moral authority to take bold decisions in extreme cases of terrorist provocation... It would not get bogged down in definitional and causal arguments about terrorism. Blocking financial supplies, disrupting networks, sharing intelligence, simplifying extradition procedures these are preventive measures which can only be effective through international cooperation based on trust and shared values... Terrorist attacks against innocents have no justification." We can only wish such forthright views were articulated elsewhere as well.
They powerfully contrast with the equivocation exhibited by Western Europe.
India's attitude of late is refreshing indeed. We remember its opposition two years ago to the virulent anti-Semitism at the UN's misnamed World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. We hope to hear more of the same in unhesitant, courageous tones.
It's against this backdrop that Ariel Sharon sets off on Monday on the first state visit to India by an Israeli premier. The visit is regarded as a milestone both here and in India the first of its kind since the establishment of full diplomatic relations in 1992. It will mark the achievement of a new dimension in bilateral relations, now coming to full bloom, turning India into one of Israel's main allies.
It hasn't always been so. Though both countries threw off the British yoke nearly at the same time, India snubbed the Jewish state for over four decades and was often no less hostile than the Arabs. During the Cold War, India sided with the USSR and led the "nonaligned" nations. That meant close links with the Arab world, underscored by dependence on its oil.
The collapse of the Soviet Union, India's ally and premier military supplier, was initially a blow. However, India was quick to reorder its priorities and rebound impressively. It decentralized its economy and turned its face westward. The result was unprecedented development and new openness. The 1991 Gulf War reduced Arab clout and led to a dialogue with Israel. On January 29, 1992, Prime Minister Narasimha Rao overruled objections and normalized relations with Israel.
Things haven't been the same since. Ties in agriculture, hi-tech, communications, science, and commerce flourished. Thriving trade reached the billion dollar mark in 2002. Joint ventures abound. Common security interests deepen military cooperation. Israel is now India's second-largest arms supplier, exceeded only by Russia, with whom India experiences growing difficulties.
Israel is reported to have put its expertise in repulsing border incursions at India's disposal. Indian soldiers have received anti-insurgency training from Israel.
Sharon is expected to sign a deal whereby Israel will supply India with the Phalcon early warning system, Israel's largest-ever export deal, worth an estimated billion dollars. The US has recently given it the green light, as the Phalcon incorporates American technology. India has also expressed interest in Israel's Arrow anti-ballistic missile system.
Close ties have proved mutually beneficial, underscored by the fact that both countries boast ancient cultures and vibrant democracies. There has long been a minuscule Jewish presence in India, happily encountering no anti-Semitism. Finally, both countries face the ongoing threat from fanatic Muslim fundamentalism and terrorism. In absolute numbers more Indians have been murdered in terrorist atrocities than in any other country. In proportion to population size, more Israelis have been murdered in terrorist outrages than in any other country.
This shared interest cements Israeli-Indian ties, which perhaps constitute Israel's greatest foreign relations coup. It's important that Israel show it can make friends other than America and Micronesia in this unfriendly world, and especially secure the cooperation of an emerging power. It's important for Israel to demonstrate that relations with it needn't be concealed like a dark, illicit assignation. They should be seen and heard, which is why it's good that Sharon is accompanied by a large entourage.
We hope that the visibility of this trip will be matched by the visibility of Indian support in international forums. The continuation of the knee-jerk support of the "nonaligned" movement for the Arab bloc over the past few decades should not be accepted as a tolerable nuisance. We have gotten used to the automatic majorities in the United Nations for almost any conceivable anti-Israel resolution. But the fact that we know nothing else does not mean that such international isolation is cost free far from it.
Sharon should suggest to our new Indian friends it is difficult for us to help them fight off terrorism while we remain diplomatically chastised for fighting the terrorism directed against us. We have the right to expect the mutual support of kindred democracies. We should actively seek this support from the world's most populous democracy.
A natural alliance.
Well, it hasn't happened yet, but I very much support your sentiments.
Yes they do.
When I visited Russia and Ukraine a number of years ago, I was struck by the similarity between Americans and these two other peoples in their expansive, warm and inquisitive outlooks.
We (Russia, India, Israel, USA) should all be on the same team.