MODI’S EMBRACE OF ISRAEL A DEPARTURE FROM INDIA’S LONG CHERISHED POLICY: OWAISI

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) greets his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi (R) during an official ceremony at Ben-Gurion International airport near Tel Aviv on July 4, 2017. AFP PHOTO / Jack GUEZ

One of the cornerstones of India’s foreign policy over the last seven decades has been our consistent support to the Palestinian cause and human rights issue and national liberation movements around the world. We must continue to support the Palestinian struggle against foreign occupation and denounce Israeli aggression. Other countries do so and still enjoy bilateral ties with Israel, argues ASADUDDIN OWAISI, President of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen

ASADUDDIN OWAISI  

Modi is the first Indian dignitary to visit Israel but shun the Palestinian Authority. Until now, Indian authorities visited both Israel and Palestine to bolster their ties with Israel as well as to reaffirm their support to the Palestinian cause which India has been doing even since before the Independence.

This would apparently help Israeli propaganda effort around this visit to whitewash Israel’s highhandedness in Palestine and the occupied territories and refusal to withdraw from these occupied territories despite hundreds of UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.

Barrister Asaduddin Owaisi, President of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen

It is a fact that the first high-level contacts between India and Israel coincided with NDA I rule. Atal Behari Vajpayee hosted the then Israeli PM Ariel Sharon in 2003. Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu met on the sidelines of UN General Assembly in 2014.

It is significant that, in a departure from its earlier stand, India has stopped condemning Israeli actions.  When the United Nations Human Rights Council report affirming that Israel had committed war crimes in the occupied territories was tabled, India abstained from voting, one of only five countries of the world to do so.

Over the last 25 years, the bilateral ties between the two countries have expanded rapidly in areas such as defense, internal security, agriculture, science and technology, space and foreign trade. India is now No. 1 importer of Israeli military equipment. The bilateral trade hovers around 5 billion dollars annually, excluding defense.

Modi has given contracts to the largest Israeli armaments company which was earlier blacklisted by the UPA government for indulging in kickbacks. Israeli weapons have not proved very useful to India. Their much-touted border control electronic sensors are ineffective and infiltration from the Pakistani side into India continues unabated. Israeli drones too have failed in India.

It is true that growing cooperation in defense and internal security is necessary in our national interest. But, one of the cornerstones of our foreign policy over the last seven decades has been our consistent support to the Palestinian cause and human rights issue and national liberation movements around the world. We must continue to support the Palestinian struggle against foreign occupation and denounce Israeli aggression. Other countries do so and still enjoy bilateral ties with Israel.


Barrister Asaduddin Owaisi is the President of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and Member of Parliament representing Hyderabad

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