A delegation of Indo-Israeli Friendship Society, headed by Asif Iqbal, who is also heads Indian Economic Trade Organization (IETO), visited Jammu and Kashmir this month, in a tour not much highlighted in Indian media.
Also less mentioned, was a visit by Chief of the Ground Forces of Israel Army Major General Yacov Barak, along with an Israeli defense team to the Indian Army’s Northern Command headquarters in Jammu and Kashmir, early this month. The dignitary met Lieutenant General D Anbu, General Officer Commander-in-Chief, Northern Command.
This increase in Israeli activity in Jammu and Kashmir has caused many eyebrows raising.
Though India’s relations with Israel have steadily strengthened through the decades, the authorities prefer to keep activities zipped up for the fear of aggravation in their close to 200million Muslim population. For this fear, India has been pro-Palestine from the on-set and Nehru showed staunch adherent to the Palestine cause. In his interesting correspondence with Einstein, Nehru wrote, “we must remember that Palestine is essentially an Arab country, and must remain so”, he said, “I confess that while I have a very great deal of sympathy for the Jews I feel sympathy for the Arabs also… I know that the Jews have done a wonderful piece of work in Palestine and have raised the standards of the people there, but one question troubles me. After all these remarkable achievements, why have they failed to gain the goodwill of the Arabs? Why do they want to compel the Arabs to submit against their will to certain demands?”
The shift came when Nehru asked Ben Gurion for help and arms and ammunition supply during the 1962 Indo-China War. Further, when after the 1967 Arab-Israel War, some Arab states made peace treaties with Israel, India’s backstairs diplomacy with Israel hiked. Since then India has been purchasing surface-to-air missiles, drones, firearms among other arms and munitions. In fact, India has been one of the biggest arms purchaser OF Israeli arms since long. In 2017, India is the number-one export target of Israel’s’ defense industry, with almost $1.5billion of purchases.
All this was fine but for the start of Indian Army’s training by the IDF, that has special expertise in oppressive techniques over suppressed people. India has a lot many suppressed people who would not be the slightest happy with this sort of news – there are the Kashmiris off course but there are also the insurgents in each of the 7 Northeastern States, the Maoists in the Naxal Corridor and even neighbors like Burma, whose waters India wants to control. Israel will be providing India a good batch of UAV (drones) to spy over these people from the skies above them. And for the ground, Indian commandos will be getting trained by elite Israeli special forces on ‘counterterrorism operations’ and ‘special operations’.
And with Modi has come the era of Israel being deemed as the ‘best friend’ and ‘natural partner’ and a ‘hug diplomacy’ with Netanyahu. Modi’s Hinduvta policies like ‘ghar-wapsi’ (forced conversions to Hinduism) and his prior history of genocidal acts against the Gujrati Muslims, make him highly prone to Muslim skepticism. How does Modi deem Israel a ‘natural partner’ as he simultaneously refers to ‘shared concerns on the threat terrorism poses to both countries’? How does this weigh when Delhi leaves no chance in calling Kashmiri freedom-seekers as ‘terrorist’ in its everyday discourse? Are the Kashmiris not the ‘terrorist’ against whom Israel is training Indian armed forces? Are the Palestinians and the Kashmiris not the ‘shared concerns’ of both authorities? Are they both not sharing notes on how to keep these restive populations in check, with Israel’s well-tried psyops and firepower against Gaza and the West Bank?
With all this enmity and viciousness at the hind, an Indo-Israeli Friendship Society delegation has come into Kashmir with seeming love and benefaction. Most Kashmiris will see this gesture as an extension of Indian policy of winning defectors from the Kashmiris population by luring them in the traps of scholarships and lucrative business opportunities. Moreover, Kashmiris will see this surprise love-making as an attempt by Israel to root its steps in the Valley for its infamous espionage activities, an activity that will enhance Indian control on the population. And most Kashmiris will understand that resource-thrift Israel has only a few things to sell, among them are arms, torture and prejudice.
India should deem it better to stay away from such a ‘natural partnership’, it should understand that Israel’s policies have taken it far away from the Peace Process – its continued antagonism towards the Palestinians and stringent unwillingness to understand or accept Palestinian self-determination and rights, have made the Palestine Issue a never-ending issue. Does India, in Israel’s footsteps, want Kashmir to remain un-resolve too?