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Thursday, January 19, 2012

A paper on Israel-India relations

A student at Israel's National Defense College, Itzhak Gerberg, wrote a nice monograph in 2010 on "India–Israel Relations: Strategic Interests, Politics and Diplomatic Pragmatism." It discusses the reasons why India made its decision in 1992 to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel, and by implication it provides a blueprint of how Israel's unique strengths position it to make diplomatic victories.
The transformation of Indian policy on Israel and the establishment of the diplomatic relations on 29 January 1992 are considered by India one of the most important steps in Indian diplomacy. The former Secretary of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs J. N. Dixit, described it thus:
I consider our establishing relations with South Africa and then with Israel as the most significant among developments in India’s foreign policy, which occurred during my period as Foreign Secretary (Dixit 1996).
To comprehend India-Israel relations it is essential to understand the change of the Indian policy towards Israel as a formative event that led to the evolving relationship between the two countries.

After the establishment of diplomatic ties, the relationship became a cornerstone of the two countries’ foreign policy, with direct implications for their national security. This was particularly notable under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) governments in India. In May 2004 a new Indian government, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), was formed by the Congress party headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Relations with Israel thereupon were moderated somewhat. Nevertheless, the relations of the two countries with regard to defence have continued to develop, based on the convergence of their strategic interests.
The paper describes the congruence of interests between the two states:
  • Military
  • Counter-terrorism
  • Intelligence
  • Foreign Affairs
  • Economic
  • Geo-strategic (energy and the Indian Ocean)
  • Nuclear power
The National Defense College itself is fascinating. It focuses on the study of national defense: the relationship between economic strength, military power, social strength, and the international status of the country. Upon graduation, students get a masters degree in political science and an NDC graduation certificate. Students are required to conduct a research, submit several papers, to write tests and to participate in simulations.

There are between thirty and forty students in the NDC. The students are colonels and lieutenant colonels of the Israeli Defense Force, and their equivalents in the government service.

The NDC inaugurated an international program in 2006, in which officers from other countries study in Israel at the NDC for one year towards receiving an M.A. from Haifa University. The students are usually colonels. There have been students every year from the United States, Singapore, Germany - and India. In addition, the NDC has taught French and Italian officers.

But, I am told, no British officer has ever attended.

(h/t Ruchie)