India strengthens its relationship to Israel by abstaining to vote in the Human Rights Council and continuing joint military and diplomatic efforts.
In an online article posted on Saturday, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth wrote about the improving relations between Israel and India in an unprecedented move in which India for the first time publicly announced that the Prime Minister will visit Israel in order to strengthen bilateral relations in many areas, most importantly the military.
The newspaper also mentioned that the relations between the two countries is currently in its golden age, and that India’s abstention in the Human Rights Council last week strengthened this relationship further. The resolution being debated in the Human Rights Council condemned Israel’s latest offensive on the Gaza Strip last summer, based on the findings of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the 2014 Israel-Gaza Conflict. India, Kenya, Ethiopia, Paraguay and Macedonia abstained from voting on the resolution and the United States voted against.
The newspaper quoted officials in the Israeli Foreign Ministry as saying that India’s abstention on the resolution is a victory for Israeli diplomacy, noting that India led the movement of non-aligned countries in support of Palestine for decades.
The reason for the change in the Indian position was said to be Narendra Modi, who became Prime Minister in India in April 2014 and who decided to change the Indian relations with Israel.
Political sources in Israel said that:
“the change in India’s position came in the form of it’s vote in the Human Rights Council as well as in the growth in relations between the leaders of the two countries through their common commitment to the issue of combating terrorism.”
The Indian opposition leader condemned the position of India and the Prime Minster, pointing out that this position may lead to the deterioration of relations between India and Arab countries, adding that his country has significant economic links with these countries. He also stated that the change in India’s official position took the Indian population by surprise, prompting the Indian foreign ministry to issue a statement confirming that India has not changed its stance towards the Palestinian cause.
The office of the Indian Prime Minister also issued an explanation of why India chose to abstain from voting in the Human Rights Council, in which India stated that it is not a member of the International Crime Court, and in which it calls for Israel and Palestine to adopt a policy of negotiations to end the differences between the two sides.
Yedioth said Israel expects a historic visit by the Indian Prime Minister to Israel at the end of the year or the beginning of next year. This will be the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Israel since the establishment of full diplomatic relations in 1992.
In February this year, Israeli defense minister Moshe Yaalon became the first Israeli minister to ever visit the Indian army. The two countries are currently planning to develop defense system program, and Israel is the second largest exporter of arms to India, the largest importer of arms in the world. This makes Israel the second-largest exporter of weapons to India after Russia in the first place and followed by the United States in the third place.
Israel has sold boats and naval artillery, rockets and unmanned aircraft as well as electrical equipment to India as the parties signed an arms deal in October 2014.