MY article last week was about the visit of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel, and his announcement that he does not intend to visit Ramallah and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Such an announcement was contrary to the tradition followed by many leaders who visit both Israel and Palestine as an expression of their balanced stance in the Arab-Israel conflict.
In the Israeli daily newspaper “Yedioth Ahronoth”, it was reported that the visit is considered to be of great importance and that Israel has high hopes in it, as it was aimed at signing military and security deals between India and Israel. By doing so, India will be the top country to sign weaponry and security deals in the history of Israel.
This is due to the fact that India has become the top weapons market for the Israeli weapons industry. So far, Israel is in second place with seven huge weapons deals after the United States of America, which signed nine weapons deals with India.
Modi’s visit was described by Israelis as historic, given the fact that he is the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel since relations between the two countries was established 27 years ago.
Despite all this, India was the first non-Arab country to recognize the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). In 1980, it established official relations with the PLO; this was ten years before India established diplomatic ties with Israel.
India has signed a deal worth $630 million with Israel to install air defense system known as “Barak 8” on four battleships belonging to the Indian naval forces. This is the seventh security deal between India and Israel.
Furthermore, Israel, during the Israeli prime minister’s upcoming visit to India, is hoping to close a deal with India to supply it with “Spike” anti-tank guided missiles.
I hope we will not fall into the trap of wailing, as we usually do when we become shocked by the actions of a friend, or who we assume to be our friend. India has been and will continue to be a friend of Arabs. However, interest imposes itself over politics.
If we had advanced industries like Israel which is blockaded by us, India would have come to us. By doing so, we would have compensated the billions of dollars which our Indian brothers in humanity reap from our land annually, most of which goes for sustaining their families and part of which goes to the government in the form of taxes. It is these taxes that India is using in buying weapons from Israel, and so on.
We have been promised for decades by our leaders that we will be able to manufacture “from needle to missile”; but we ended up failing in manufacturing even a matchstick.
By Ali Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil