Burgeoning India-Israeli trade voids solidarity space with Palestine

Israel's defence industry relies on exports for its survival. Until the end of the 1990s, most shipments were to China. But the US veto on transfer of sensitive technologies to China forced Israel to look to other markets, including India. Defence ties got a major boost after Israel rushed emergency supplies to India during the 1999 Kargil conflict. Since then, Israel has emerged as India's 3rd largest arms supplier, behind US & Russia. It notches around $1 billion in annual sales to India by collaborating in production or selling of missile defence systems, spy drones, airborne warning & control systems and Aerostat radars.

Since firmly establishing diplomatic ties in 1992, India has become one of Israel's largest trading partners. Trade and cooperation between the two nations extend beyond defence to agriculture, water desalination and space. Many Israeli companies feel India has an edge over China in being a stable democracy with an effective court system to protect patents. A large population of technically qualified English-speaking people also makes India attractive for Israeli investments.

Some experts also believe Israel and India face terror threats from organizations with similar radical ideology. There's also the feeling that India has been poorly compensated for supporting Palestine. India is home to the world's second largest Muslim population, but it has been consistently blocked from involvement in the OIC.

According to some reports around 40,000 Israelis, many of whom have just finished military service, visit India annually. Tourists from Israel visiting India in 2013 were at 48,737. In many of these areas, Hebrew signs on businesses and public transportation are not uncommon. The number of tourists from India visiting Israel also grew and touched 15,900 in 2000. Today, almost 40,000-50,000 tourists from India annually visit Israel.

The campaign in India to reverse pro-Zionist policies will be no easy challenge especially as Hindutva in its various avatars fits nicely into the Zionist scheme. These ideologies of both ruling dispensations perfectly tally with each other and are implicit fascist siblings.

BDS is a Palestinian-led movement upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity. Israel occupies and colonizes Palestinian land, discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel and denies Palestinian refugees the right of return. BDS actions seek to pressure Israel to comply with international law. This is a strategy that Indian civil society must work with as viable and effective. It is attractive too because it is a peaceful, non-violent method despite all the charges of anti-Semitism that Israel levels on it. (Palestine Update)