Isn’t it odd that no prime minister of the world’s largest democracy ever visited the only genuinely democratic country in the Middle East for almost seven decades?
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]gainst this backdrop, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel is of stupendous significance, arguably the biggest foreign policy breakthrough of his regime. For it blows the rabid, anti-Israel antipathy, birthed and nurtured by Jawaharlal Nehru, to smithereens.
It is a well-acknowledged fact today that Nehru was opposed to anything reasonable and commonsensical; so he was against market economy, good relations with the United States and other Western nations, and long is the list of his anathemas.
A true Leftist that he was, he shamelessly pandered to the demands of Muslims, especially of their most retrograde sections; and, for the sake of appeasement, he sacrificed the national interest at the altar of electoral politics; minimum relations with Israel was part of the bargain. The policy was continued by his daughter, Indira Gandhi. So, it was not surprising that the country’s largest Muslim solidly supported the grand old party in the first 30 years after Independence.
The Jewish state anyway has been extremely sympathetic and helpful to India.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he pretext, of course, was the support to Palestine, and it continues to be so. Even today, the Congress is trying to diminish Modi’s achievement by raising the so-called hyphenation issue, as we shall see.
The 1962 India-China War should have opened the eyes of Nehru and his coterie. His foreign policy had completely failed: China, which he thought was a friend, grabbed our land and attacked us; the United States, which he regarded as an enemy, came to our assistance. Similarly, Israel helped us. The Jewish state anyway has been extremely sympathetic and helpful to India.
Even as New Delhi did funny things in the 1950s, like setting up the ludicrous Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) with a few other nations, quixotically crusading against ‘imperialism,’ and often castigating Israel at international forums, Tel Aviv remained steadfastly sympathetic.
It was not that the folly of anti-Israel policy was not recognized at the highest levels. In 1962, Nehru requested his Israeli counterpart, David Ben Gurion, for arms and ammunition. But such was the Muslim appeaser’s perversity that, even in that moment of national crisis, he wanted the Israelis to give weapons without the Israeli flag! It was only when Ben Gurion said no to this conditionality that Nehru reluctantly accepted armaments with the Israeli flag.
In the 1971 Indo-Par War, too, Israel provided small arms to India to be given to the Mukti Bahini in Bangladesh. In the 1999 Kargil War also the situation was grim for India as far as arms procurement was concerned, for sanctions post-Pokhran II were in place. Again, Israel proved to be the friend in need.
Senior party spokesperson Ajay Maken chose to slam the Prime Minister saying his “64 visits in more than three years” have only resulted in “televised shows.
Evidently, Modi’s bold diplomatic move has unnerved the Congress. Senior party spokesperson Ajay Maken chose to slam the Prime Minister in general terms, saying his “64 visits in more than three years” have only resulted in “televised shows.” The Congress leader said, “Only the time will tell how India will benefit out of the 65th visit, but if you look at the track record, India has not benefited a bit out of his last foreign visits.”
Congress MP and Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs chairman Shashi Tharoor were more specific and nuanced: “It’s very important relationship which I believe India needs to sustain while at the same time making sure it’s not at the expense of our traditional loyalty and ties with Palestinians and the Palestinian cause.”
It is strange that when our relations with any nation are discussed, nobody mentions its problems in its neighborhood. For instance, India-Saudi ties never find a mention what the Saudis do to the Houthi rebels or to the Emirates surrounding them. But Palestine is also hyphenated with Israel. The reason is simple: non-BJP parties want India to keep away from Israel so that Muslim sensibilities are not offended. For decades, they promoted their electoral prospects at the expense of national interest.
Modi should be lauded for reversing this policy.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.