Bibi Netanyahu: “We Believe in this Alliance Between Israel and India.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Thursday, 28 June 2018), at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, met with the Chief Minister of the Indian State of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani, and welcomed him to Israel, his first visit outside India since taking up office. The Prime Minister conveyed greetings to his friend, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The two discussed the continued strengthening of relations between the two countries. Gujarat Chief Minister Rupani expressed great interest in Israeli water, agriculture and cyber technologies.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “We believe in this alliance between Israel and India, and it was tremendously enhanced by Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Israel. I was pleased to be in Gujarat, and now I’m pleased that Gujarat is in Israel.”


Modi and Netanyahu’s Gujarat Roadshow: India-Israel relationship – Is it Destiny???

It was the BJP government back in 2003 when former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon paid his last visit to New Delhi. Since then, there has been a lull period in Indo-Israeli relationship. Again, the ice was broken by a BJP led government in 2014. Today, after 15 long years, India is warmly welcoming Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu on hid 6 days historic visit with First Lady Mrs. Sara Netanyahu and a powerful delegation.

The warm welcome by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu was more than a mere reciprocation what Mr. Modi received on his recent historic visit to Israel. Salute from India to Israel was display of deep bonding and an excellent camaraderie that these two leaders share between them. Whenever, we see the two leaders together, their body language speaks volumes of a relationship that has risen over diplomacy and mutual interests.

There have been many adjectives used to describe the Indo-Israeli relationship. Many recent ones were taunting and funny. The questions were: Is it a one night stand or a long term relationship? Is it flirting, mutual interest or common enemies? So many questions were asked especially in the backdrop of India’s UNGA vote and the Spike ATGM deal.

As soon as the news of India’s UNGA vote spread, there was an unprecedented but a very heartening outcry on social media and otherwise too. Many Nationalists and Social Media users, Independent activists and experts stormed in support of Israel. There were banners by many Hindu Nationalists which read “Country – Israel , Capital – Jerusalem. This was not a symbolic gesture. It appeared to exemplify deep bonds that has developed between the people of both countries, more so in recent times. Bond that knows no compulsions, and is driven by a strong sense of belonging with each other.

India-Israel relationship is not about commercials, cosmetics or optics. The bond that has developed so largely, comes from “Destiny”. Both countries are lead by destiny and even if, we still have not totally come to terms with this unexplored fact, the signs of this belief in ‘destiny’ growing has immense potential and well, on course. It was destiny when around a 100 years ago, Haifa found a new hero in Major Dalpat Singh.

No matter how unbelievable it may sound to a rationalist mind the historical facts would keep singing this tale of valour of how a modern army weilding machine guns were run over by heroes weilding swords and lancers. This valour is still seen in our modern day defence personnel who may have a little handicap on the modern weaponary that they require but their motivation is so tall that it dwarfs such temporary handicaps.

In the India-China war in 1962, it was Israel that had helped us with 81 mm and 120 mm mortars, howitzer artillery guns with ammunition that we desperately needed. In the 1971 Indo-Pak war, Israel delayed sending back the Pakistani F-86 Sabre aircraft that were sent to Israel for maintenance. Not to forget the help Israel offered in bombing Kahuta Nuclear facility located in Pakistan in the year 1981. An indecision, that to me was the biggest blunder that lead Pakistan to flourish as Nuclear Monster that now threatens to be the hub of a Global Nuclear Catastrophe.

The modern Indo-Israel realtionship has grown from such amazing historical events and has evolved into an ever flourishing relationship that has been written by destiny itself. The future of this relationship is going to be space high. India and Israel can together bring in big breakthroughs in every field be it Space Technology, Trade and Commerce, Defence and Aerospace, Farming, Medicine and the most important of them all have been pioneers in leading the world in maintaining world peace and prosperity.

As of now there is a difference between the work cultures of both the countries and that to me is a temporary hindrance and a gift of the lackadaisical approach of the previous regimes in strengthening our functionary processes. However, with the current ruling NDA government lead by Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi, there is a sea of constructive reforms taking place, which has been evident to the world more as demonetisation and GST. These are the more talked about issues but there are 100s and 1000s of other such big and small steps taken by the government to evolve a work culture that is performace and deliverables driven sans any red-tapism.

However, one would like to see this relationship, from whichever spectrum deemed fit but to my eyes I see India and Israel in each others destiny and in time not just the people of both the countires but the entire world will start seeing the same.

Vande Mataram.

Originally Published in Wise Indian Tongue

PEACE PROCESS: Saudi Arabia Allows Air India Flights Bound for Israel to Use its Airspace

After a 70 year ban on commercial flights using its airspace to fly to Israel, Saudi Arabia has granted for the first time permission for Air India flights bound for Israel to be able to fly over the Kingdom.

The decision, which will be implemented in March, means that the flights from New Delhi to Tel Aviv would be shortened by two and a half hours. It also means cheaper tickets for passengers.

The move is credited to the growing alliance and working relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel. It is also a testament to the growing influence India has in the Middle East.  India’s upgraded partnership with Israel to that of a strategic alliance has shuffled reltionships across the Arab world.  Between Trump’s pushing and prodding and India’s PM Modi’s ripping up of the “Palestinian” narrative, the Crown Prince Muhammed Bin-Salman has found it necessary to begin forging ties with Israel.

The Saudi government had banned flights headed to Israel from using its airspace for 70 years. While it is no secret that private jets can fly from Saudi and other Gulf airports to Israel, they could not use the direct route and had to make a stop-over in Amman airport first.

The move by Saudi Arabia also confirms the Palestinian Authority’s worst fears that it is being pushed to the side in search for a real and lasting peace.  Afterall, in the eyes of many in the Arab world, the times have changed and no longer are the “Palestinian” a necessary component of Arab nationalism.  A smaller world has led to the realization that Israel is here to stay and furthermore can play an important roll in a Middle East that has moved byond sectarian tunnel vision.

Modi’s push for Air India to be able to fly over Saudi Arabia  to Israel is beyond Trump’s peace moves, but rather reflects a changing world where traditional indigenous powers have come of age. It also reelcts Israel’s diversification in relationships.


India’s Modi abandons legacy of Muslim appeasement

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has earned a deserved reputation as a no-nonsense opponent of appeasement.  His expansion of the India-Israel relationship and personal affinity with President Donald Trump and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu have strengthened that perception.  The latest evidence that it is more than a perception came this week, when Modi’s government discontinued half-century-old government subsidies provided to Muslim pilgrims going on the Hajj.  The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims must carry out at least once, so long as they are physically and financially able – artificial conditions that the subsidy is intended to create.

That’s right: the government of India has been spending badly needed funds for one religious community’s annual pilgrimage.  (There is even a special terminal in New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport exclusively for Hajj pilgrims, which is closed for most of the year.)  Since 2008, about 120,000 Muslims have utilized the government money to go on the Hajj, according to the Indian government, costing the Indian people almost a half-billion dollars in the last five years alone.  This money now will be used for educational purposes, especially for girls who have been particularly underserved in accordance with community practice.

According to minister for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, “[t]his is part of our policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement.”  Putting an end to Modi’s predecessors’ policies not only does that, but also reduces the role of big government in India, which has been another major element in the prime minister’s actions thus far.  As he promised to do both during and since the 2013 election that brought him his landslide victory, Modi’s conservative government is eliminating the wasteful spending by leftist opponents, which they often carried out to garner the large and largely united Indian Muslim vote.

Originally Published in American Thinker.

NETANYAHU IN INDIA: “Israelis and Indians are bound by the kinship of free peoples.”

India and Israel continue to draw closer as Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu made a powerful speech at a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Modi.  Both India and Israel share a common threat with Islamic terrorism.  Yet, relations between Israel and India go back centuries as Jews enjoyed of freedom of religion for over two thousand years in the ancient Hindu country.

In modern times the two countries have had a rocky history, but a grass roots relationship has built over the last 2 decades which has finally expanded into the governments of both peoples.

Below is the Prime Minister’s speech in full as provided to us by the Government Press Office:

“Thank you my friend, Prime Minister Modi, Narendra. Thank you for your exceptional friendship and hospitality that you showed me, my wife, and our delegation. I was deeply moved today in the celebration at the ceremony. It was an expression not only of the honor you showed me but the honor you showed the people of Israel and the State of Israel. You are a revolutionary leader in the best sense of the word ‘revolution’. You are revolutionizing India. You are catapulting this magnificent state into the future and you have revolutionized the relationship between Israel and India.

I’m the son of a historian. Our peoples have had thousands of years of history. India and Israel are two of the most ancient civilizations on earth and yet it is an amazing fact that until you visited Israel no leader of India in 3,000 years of our own sovereign existence and our history has visited Israel. You are the first leader of a state, of an Indian state to do this. So it was a groundbreaking visit. It excited the imaginations of all Israelis and of course of the many Israelis of Indian descent, of origin, who came and were…how shall I say this…well I thought I was in a rock concert but it was a historic event as well.

We are ushering today a new era in our relations. We’ve had diplomatic relations for 25 years but something different is happening now because of your leadership and because of our partnership. There are three things that bind our countries together: The first is that we have an ancient past. The second is that we have a vibrant present. And the third is that we are seizing together a promising future. We are proud of our past, our rich histories, our peoples’ contributions to human civilization in language, in literature, in mathematics and medicine, in philosophy and faith. The greatest texts that human beings produced are in Sanskrit and in Hebrew. None greater and none more enduring and we never forget this.

More recently, you mentioned, just a century ago, brave Indian soldiers played a vital role in the liberation of the State of Israel and the land of Israel. This led to our Independence. And yesterday I was again deeply moved as we paid tribute to these brave Indian fighters and commanders who gave their lives in that historic fight. We honor their memory as you mark today Indian Army Day. We are proud of our present, of our resilient democracies. Our people are free to say what they want, do what they want, believe what they want and these values and our diversity are not a source of our weakness but the source of our strength. Evidence of this abounds in India where you hear a symphony of dozens of languages and dialects and where Jews, and you mentioned this yesterday Prime Minister, you mentioned the fact that makes India stand out in the community of nations because over 2,000 years the Jews of India have never experienced anti-Semitism as our people experienced in so many other lands. This is a tribute to your civilization, to your tolerance, to your humanity.

Israelis and Indians are bound by the kinship of free peoples but I believe that democracy cannot be taken for granted. Despite the doubts, despite the challenges, India and Israel are living proof not only that democracy works but they demonstrate something deeper – the intrinsic value of freedom which I believe is the intrinsic value of life. Citizens thrive ultimately it is the free citizens who thrive because they are free and when they are free.

Finally, we are proud that we are seizing the future so we can make a better life for our peoples and for others around the world. Our commitment to do so is reflected in the manifold agreements that we sign today in cyber, in aviation, in energy, even in cinema. My wife and I are very happy that we are going to Bollywood, we’d like to see it firsthand, and so many other areas.

Israel is a fountainhead of innovation. It’s a global force of technology. India abounds with creativity, with ingenuity, with scientists, with mathematicians and I think that when we join our respective talents together we can achieve tremendous things for our people. We can actually achieve…you say we want more…Prime Minister Modi and I are the same. We want more for our people, we want it now, we want it yesterday. But one of the things that Israel brings to this world of innovation is that we achieve more with less. More crops with less water, more energy with less expenditure of money. More with less. We want more, a lot more and we can do that even more productively by cooperating.

When you and I walked shoeless along the Mediterranean shore, we drank sea water that was purified before our eyes using technology that will save untold lives. India and Israel are working together to provide clean water, to increase crop yields, to keep our people safe from terrorism and other challenges to the future we both seek.

You mentioned the areas: Agriculture where I presented to Prime Minister Modi an idea of revolutionizing Indian agriculture as we’re revolutionizing Israeli agriculture – precision agriculture that goes down to the individual plant. Some plants need more water, some less. We can see it today with big data, with drones, with other instruments of technology to make farmers produce much more crops. More crops with less. We’re talking about cooperation in science and technology in every field and we’re talking about cooperation in defense so that our people are always safe and always secure.

Indians and Israelis know too well the pain of terrorist attacks. We remember the horrific savagery in Mumbai. We grit our teeth, we fight back, we never give in.

My friend last night you again showed us your tremendous hospitality and when you hosted Sara and me at your home so graciously it was brilliantly lit, illuminated by the national colors of India and Israel and I thought at that moment about your honesty, your passion, you vision, your commitment and it fills me with hope, hope that this new era of India-Israel relations will bring unprecedented benefits to India, to Israel, to all humanity.

And finally and this is perhaps the most important statement that I can make here – my friend Narendra, any time you want to do a yoga class with me it’s a big stretch but I’ll be there. Trust me.

Thank you very very much. Thank you my friend.”

PM Netanyahu and his Wife Welcomed by Indian PM Modi at the Presidential Palace

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, today (Monday, 15 January 2018), were welcomed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the presidential palace in an official ceremony that included an honor guard of more than 100 soldiers. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s vehicle received a mounted escort; the two countries’ national anthems were played.

Prime Minister Netanyahu:

“This is the dawn of a new era in the great friendship between India and Israel that began with Prime Minister Modi’s historic visit to Israel, which created tremendous enthusiasm. It continues with my visit here, which I must say is deeply moving for my wife and me, and for the entire people of Israel. And I think it heralds a flourishing of our partnership to bring prosperity and peace and progress for both our people.”

Following the ceremony, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife, along with Indian Prime Minister Modi, participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Raj Ghat memorial to the late Mahatma Gandhi. Prime Minister Netanyahu wrote in the guestbook: “Such grandeur and simplicity in honor of modern India’s founding father, one of the world’s greatest spiritual leaders.”

India to Buy 131 Surface to Air Missiles from Israel Ahead of Netanyahu’s Visit

India’s Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has given the go ahead for the procurement of 131 Surface to Air Barak missiles.  This is separate from the deal India scrapped with Israel’s Rafael Advance Defence in November of 2017.  The Ministry of Defense had decided to cancel the $500 million with Rafael systems for  acquiring of  the Spike Anti Tank Guided Missile because India wanted to develop their own version.

The deal for the Barak missiles was announced today to be timed before Prime Minister Netanyahu’s first state visit to India.

The two rising powers have been coming closer for years, but under Narendra Modi, India’s Hindu nationalist leader, the relationship between India and Israel has reached new heights.

Despite the very warm relations between India and Israel, the Modi government voted for Turkey’s resolution at the UN condemning President Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Most experts believe that India will take time to shift their voting at the UN in Israel’s favor since the Hindu majority country has a large minority of Muslims equally around 100 million.