ישראל נאמן | Lectures, Articles, Tours: Israel | Mideast onTarget | Elliot Chodoff & Yisrael Ne'eman | India, the Forgotten Ally

India, the Forgotten Ally

23 September 2002

By Yisrael Ne’eman

Since September 11th the Pakistani – Indian conflict has heated up with fundamentalist Islam sweeping across the Moslem world.  The subcontinent has known three wars since the two nations gained independence in 1947, the last being in 1971 – 72.  India suffers from Islamic and Pakistani nationalist terrorism the same way Israel is a victim of Palestinian terror (religiously or nationally inspired).  Both are democracies and retain within their borders large Moslem populations.

Over the years India identified with the Third World, including Egypt’s Nasser.  New Delhi was pro-Russian because the Americans were pro-Pakistani in their attempt to curry Moslem favor worldwide.  For no sensible reason, Israel and India were on opposite sides of the fence.

Ten years ago the two countries established full diplomatic relations, but already 20 years ago Israelis were traveling to India, especially after army service.  Today it is accepted practice to spend several months in the subcontinent when one ‘takes a year off’. 

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rise of the Islamic threat and a re-evaluation of priorities by the US as of last September, a natural alliance is developing.  The armies and security services of both countries exchange a fair amount of information, business connections are developing and the two view the future partnership as having great potential.

But it is all-quiet, apparently not to embarrass the Americans, as they are still (at least formally) pro-Pakistani.  But should there be an overthrow of the pro-American regime in Islamabad, India is always there as a back up.  The eastern flank in the battle against fundamentalist Islam is pivoted in New Delhi.

And standing behind New Delhi is Jerusalem.