Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Jul 2017 11:06:18

THE manner in which Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi’s Israel visit got off to a great start indicates the dawn of a new era in international realpolitik. The manner in which Israel’s Prime Minister Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the distinguished guest indicates the importance the West has started attaching to friendship with India. For, by any standard, Israel is considered a very important nation of the western world and its hand of friendship has wider ramifications for global equations. 

The Israeli offer of a fuller cooperation in fight against terror, and its willingness to enter strategic relationship with India indicates that the western world treats India as a major Asian power whose participation in the global fight against terror has been critical. For the past seventy years, Israel has been at the forefront of fight against any kind of terrorism. Mossad, its spy agency, has eliminated hundreds of terrorists and has thwarted many an evil design of the terror groups. In that process, Israel lost many of its sons and daughters who made highest sacrifices in the cause.

All along, Mr. Modi has been campaigning for a global common front to fight terror. His appeal is to all the nations to go beyond narrow political interests and unite to serve the cause. The response of Mr. Netanyahu was absolutely heartwarming. In the past some years, India also has made a major contribution to containing terror emanating from Pakistan, which the world recognises.

From the Indian standpoint, friendship with Israel has tremendous importance in terms of defence ties and technological cooperation. India has often viewed the progress Israel has made on industrial and agricultural fronts as a critical impetus to bilateral relations. Considering the positive contribution of India in the two fields, Israel, too, has expressed willingness to join hands for achievement of developmental goals.

There is little doubt that Mr. Modi’s visit to Israel has raised many an eyebrow in the Arab nations with whom India has had a strong bond of friendship for decades. Even though the beginning of those ties many years ago was on a practical plane, subsequent period saw the relations getting thicker and stronger on psychological levels. Despite this, Mr. Modi chose to make this trip to Israel because he realised the importance opening the new front, no matter the risks involved in the Indian relations with the Arab world.

Israel has had a larger number of Jews with Indian origin. There are countless Indians, too, residing in Israel for various purposes. Thus, despite the distance at the official level, the two countries have been maintaining a social friendship between them. Mr. Modi has sought to extend that comradeship to more areas. The Israeli response has been absolutely good, promising opening of new doors for mutually beneficial relations.

When India is finding itself engaged in hostilities with its immediate neighbours like Pakistan and China, the opening of newer diplomatic fronts is of a larger interest for the country. Mr. Modi’s visit to Israel is being viewed from this point of view. The visit also signifies India’s growing importance in comity of nations. It stresses the point that India has matured almost suddenly in the past few years, that its leadership has the ability to go beyond the obvious and seek paths in tune with its interests and in sync with its idea of sovereignty.

The world has not missed these points. The world has not missed India’s insistence that it is eager to break newer grounds, without, of course, sacrificing its ‘ancient’ friendships. This may be tricky, but India is mature enough now to be able to handle the challenge, which Mr. Modi has made possible.