Military and strategic ties between India and Israel have strengthened with time
Force Magazine - National Security and Aerospace Newsmagazine

The Way Forward

Military and strategic ties between India and Israel have strengthened with time

Aditya Kakkar

Contrary to popular perception, India has had a long history of people to people contact, i.e, Tack II diplomacy with Israel even before formal diplomatic channels were established in the year 1992 by the PV Narasimha Rao government. Much of this has been between Indian Jews and the Israelis but a substantial number of people in the Indian military establishment have also long admired the brute strength and military tactics of the Israeli army. It is this specific admiration that has forged ties, both military and strategic, between the two countries.

As P.R. Kumaraswamy, professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, writes in his book, India and Israel: Evolving Strategic Partnership, ‘the Indian military had always admired the experience and expertise of the Israeli army in its different successful military campaigns and had already lobbied for more cooperation with its Israeli counterpart.’ The divide between Indian military and foreign establishment in decision making led India to wait for a number of years before diplomatic relations were established’.

Even post 1992, India, though reeling from Soviet obsolescence in weapon technology, was still reluctant in arms procurement from Israel. This was partly due to domestic party politics and partly because of the stronghold of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which was competing with Israeli companies such as Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Rafael for developing and upgrading various weapons platforms. India’s entry into Missile Technology Control Regime (MCTR) in June 2016 also helped it to cooperate and develop ballistic missile technology with Israel.

Elbit Systems stand during DefExpo 2016
Elbit Systems stand during DefExpo 2016

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