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The India-Israel Relations

Why is it in the news?

  • India’s stance on Israel and Palestine has undergone significant shifts over the past seven decades.

More about the news

  • Post-independence, India initially supported the Palestinian cause and voted against the partition of Palestine at the UN. India recognized Israel in 1950, becoming one of the last non-Muslim states to do so.
  • During the late 1960s and early 1970s, India engaged with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and recognized it as the sole representative of the Palestinian people in 1975.
  • Under leaders like Indira and Rajiv Gandhi, India maintained strong support for the Palestinian struggle.
  • However, by the 1990s, India’s policy shifted due to geopolitical changes, including the end of the Cold War and the emergence of the BJP as a powerful political force.
  • India established full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992, with Palestinian President Arafat acknowledging that India’s relationship with Israel could help the Palestinian cause.
  • Military ties between India and Israel strengthened, notably during the Kargil conflict in 1999 when Israel provided precision target bombs to India.
  • Under Prime Minister Modi, India-Israel ties have become more visible, with high-profile visits and a focus on defence, security, and connectivity.
  • Modi’s visit to Israel in 2017 marked the first Prime Ministerial visit, breaking the tradition of visiting Palestine during official trips.
  • India’s approach to West Asia has expanded to engage with various regional players, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Qatar, and the UAE.
  • India’s strategic engagement in the Middle East is driven by the Indian diaspora in the region, energy imports, and connectivity to West Asia and Europe.
  • The recent spate of attacks in the Middle East has put India in a diplomatic challenge, as it tests the Abraham Accords and efforts to improve relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, which India hoped to benefit from as a regional peace initiative.


Bilateral Relations

  • India, as of December 2020, maintains diplomatic ties with Israel, being among 164 UN member states with such relations.
  • Bilateral trade has grown from USD 5 billion to approximately USD 7.5 billion by January 2023, with diamonds constituting half of this trade.
  • India ranks as Israel’s third-largest trade partner in Asia and seventh globally, with Israeli investments in India’s energy, telecom, real estate, water technologies, and R&D centres.
  • India is one of the largest importers of Israeli weapons, accounting for around 40% of Israel’s annual arms exports.
  • The Indian armed forces use various Israeli weapon systems, including AWACS, drones, anti-missile defence systems, and anti-aircraft missile systems.
  • A Task Force was established during the 15th Joint Working Group (JWG 2021) meeting on Bilateral Defence Cooperation to create a comprehensive Ten-Year Roadmap for defence collaboration.
  • The India-Israel Industrial R&D and Innovation Fund (I4F) expanded its scope to include sectors like renewable energy and ICT.


India on Israel Palestine Conflict 

  • India believes in the 2-state solution and has maintained a balanced approach.
  • It supports the establishment of a sovereign independent and a viable state of Palestine along with maintaining India’s growing relationship with Israel.

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