After Modi’s historic visit to Israel, questions remain on how the elevated partnership between Israel and India will play in China. Israel’s relationship with China has steadily grown and while this has not been a huge boon for trade, it has been an excellent gateway to Asia for Israeli innovation.
India and China have fought three wars since India’s independence and although they have an advanced trade relationship their disputes have created tension between the two countries. With India battling Islamic militants on its Western border and an open dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir, China’s support Pakistan’s claim to Kashmir as well as its military support for Pakistan has increasingly unnerved India.
Israel has long viewed its entry into Asia as one of neutrality. This is due to Israel’s perception that its role in Asia is purely economic. Israel’s growing partnership with India, culminating in Modi’s visit changes that assumption. India and Israel see one another as kindred spirits bound from their ancient roots. In truth, the same relationship could have grown in China, but it has remained largely surface level and business oriented.
With Chinese expansion under Xi Jinping more than just economic, India’s partnership with Israel has triggered a realignment within Middle East affiars. Noticebly, Modi’s visit to Israel did not include Ramallah. In fact the most Modi has done is to give ceremonial mention of the “two-state” solution. Compare this to China who has been openly courting Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas is scheduled to visist China for three days where he is expected to ask Xi to support the “Palestinians” in international forums. More than this, there is talk of China financially supporting the PA.
Israel’s assumption was that China could be convinced to eventually move to a neutral position when it came to Israel and the Palestinians. This has not happened. The growing Israel-Indo partnership has forced China to align itself with those groups who are antagonistic to Israel. China’sdrive for hegemony beyond its regionconfronts Israel with a dilemma. Does it push back on China by strengething its relationship with India even more or do they keep the status quo?
With China openly courting the Palestinians and supporting Pakistan, the ball is in Israel’s court to carve out a place where their alliance with India does not force those players in the Middle East to over power the Jewish State due to help from China.