Saturday, September 12, 2015

India to buy $400 million worth of drones from Israel

Long gone are the days when India cared about non-alliance movement and world peace. As she developed nuclear capabilities in the mid-1970s so did her attitude which changed to reflect her newly found strength and confidence. She has evolved into a hegemonic power in south Asia, sometimes threatening or destabilizing peace and security of her neighbors. 

More problematic, however, is India's alliance with forces that have had horrendous records of human rights violations, esp. against racial/ethnic/religious minorities. With her embrace of Hindutvadi fascism over the years, such ties with rogue states and pariah governments have only grown stronger. 
Thus, it is no surprise that in recent years we see a warming of relations between India and Myanmar (a country which is guilty of crimes of genocide against the Rohingya people and other religious minorities). It is also no surprise that India today is a big economic and defense partner of Israel, the other apartheid state, which has been guilty of numerous war crimes against the unarmed Palestinians living inside Gaza. Truly, it is difficult to imagine today that India had one time voted in the UN against Israeli excesses. Many Indians may not be aware of what M.K. Gandhi had to say about Zionism and his condemnation of the British policy to implant European Jews into Palestine. He declared on 25 November 1938: "Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs… Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.”

[The seeds of this friendship with Israel were sown by Narsimha Rao. "The Congress Party – the so called friend of left leaning and Muslims, did everything to nurture this relationship disregarding the feelings of those Indians for whom the occupation of Palestinian land by Israel is unconstitutional and immoral. Today, these Congress leaders, now out of power, may shed the crocodile tears against Israeli atrocities in Palestine but they were the harbingers of this curious relationship; Congress Party had written the script that is now played by BJP government with eclat." - Naim Naqvi. See also Naqvi's article by clicking here.]

Obviously, with Narendra Modi in power, it is natural to expect further warming up of relation between the two nuclear brahmins. And we are not wrong. The Israeli newspaper Times of Israel has reported that the Indian government last week approved the purchase of 10 Israeli-made armed Heron drones for the sum of $400 million. 
Indian publication The Economic Times called the purchase of the missile-armed drones “a crucial acquisition that will enhance India’s cross-border military strike capability.” According to the report, the drones will be operated by the Indian Air Force, and will join its fleet of reconnaissance drones. The Indian Air Force also has a fleet of Harpy unmanned aerial vehicles from Israel — craft that self-destruct and are primarily used to destroy enemy radar positions.

The sale is the latest move in an ongoing thaw in relations between Israel and India. A senior delegation from the Indian Foreign Ministry visited Jerusalem in July, just days after New Delhi dramatically changed its traditional voting pattern at the United Nations in Israel’s favor.
“This dialogue expresses the special relationship that developed” between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement at the time. “At the heart of the dialogue stand a number of bilateral topics, with an emphasis on diplomatic, economic and development issues.”
Modi, who is expected in Israel later this year in what would be a historic first visit of an Indian prime minister, has accelerated the rapprochement with Jerusalem. While strong defense and business ties existed before he came to power in April 2014, he made the relationship much more visible.
Indian Foreign Minister Shrimati Sushma Swaraj is also due to visit Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan later this year. In February, Moshe Ya’alon became the first sitting Israeli defense minister to visit India.
What's next in Modi's India? 

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