India Israel Relations
India and Israel marked 30 years of full diplomatic relations. To mark this, India and Israel launched a commemorative logo which features the Star of David and the AshokaChakra- the two symbols that adorn the national flags of both countries.
- Though India officially recognised Israel in 1950, the two countries established full diplomatic ties only on 29th January 1992.
- From 1992, while there were defence deals, and co-operation in science, technology and agriculture, India balanced this with its historical support for the Palestinian cause, its dependence on the Arab world for oil, and the pro-Palestinian sentiments of the country’s Muslim citizens.
- Bilateral merchandise trade stood at USD 4.14 billion (excluding defence) during the period 2020 –2021 with the balance of trade being in India’s favour.
- India is Israel’s third-largest trade partner in Asia.
- India is also in dialogue with Israel for concluding a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
- Trade in diamonds constitutes about 50% of bilateral trade.
- 3 year programme on cooperation in agriculture which aims to grow existing Centres of Excellence, establish new centers, increase CoE’s value chain etc.
- India can learn irrigation techniques from Israel.
- India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F)- cooperation between the two countries to promote, facilitate and support joint industrial R&D projects between companies from India and Israel to address the challenges in the agreed ‘Focus Sectors’.
- India is the largest buyer of military equipment from Israel.
- Induction of Israeli weapons like Phalcon AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control Systems) and Heron, Searcher-II and Harop drones to Barak anti-missile defence systems etc.
- The acquisitions also include a host of Israeli missiles and precision-guided munitions, from Python and Derby air-to-air missiles to Crystal Maze and Spice-2000 bombs.
- Israel is also joining the India-led International Solar Alliance (ISA).
- With the 2020 Abrahamic Accords that saw UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco normalising relations with Israel, New Delhi is now more confident about its key relationships in West Asia than at any other time.
- The growing relationship is in the spotlight over Pegasus, the surveillance software made by the Israeli company NSO.
- India voted in favour of a resolution in the General Assembly opposing the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
- In 2021, India voted against Israel in three resolutions – on the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people; on Israeli settlement policy; and on the human rights situation in the Golan Heights.
- In 2021, the International Criminal Court claimed jurisdiction to investigate human rights abuses in Palestinian territory including West Bank and Gaza and named both Israeli security forces and Hamas as perpetrators- India again did not support Israel here.
- India’s support to Palestinian cause is also a cause of discord.
India and Palestine cause:
- India’s statement in the UN Security Council on the Israel-Palestine violence virtually held Israel responsible for the violence, and expressed India’s “strong” support to the “just Palestinian cause” and “unwavering” support for the two-state solution.
- India backed the Palestinian right to self-determination and rallied behind the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).
- In 1975, India invited PLO to open an office in Delhi, giving it diplomatic status five years later.
- In 1988, when the PLO declared an independent state of Palestine with its capital in East Jerusalem, India granted recognition immediately.
- India voted for Palestine to become a full member of UNESCO in 2011, and a year later, co-sponsored the UN General Assembly resolution that enabled Palestine to become a “non-member” observer state at the UN without voting rights.
India does continue to walk a tightrope, between its historical ties with Palestine and its newfound love for Israel.
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