Lenin once wrote: "There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen." This maxim perfectly describes what Israel-India relations are presently going through. After unconditionally supporting Palestinians at international fora for more than six decades, India is considering to end its support to the "Palestinian cause" – especially at the United Nations. The Hindu, a leading Indian Newspaper ran a story today citing two different government sources, confirming that India may "fundamentally depart" from its traditional stand on Palestine. Further implying that India would abstain from any future resolutions on "Palestinian state".

Bilateral Trade between Israel and India has grown exponentially since both countries established diplomatic relations in 1991. Starting from a base of US$ 200 million in 1991-92, bilateral trade crossed US$ 6 billion in 2013. Today, India and Israel are cooperating not just in Defense, but in diverse sectors of economy such as agriculture, Green- & Clean Technologies, higher education, industrial R&D, Information Technology and Start-Ups. However, despite these promising developments India's voting record at UN has not changed since the hay days of the Cold War.

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Country's firm support for the "Palestinian Cause" at international fora prompted commentators to refer to India as the 23rd Arab State. Many commentators within India have kept questioning the wisdom of an unconditional support to the Palestinians. They have pointed out the absence of support on the part of the Arab States with regard to the issue of cross-border Islamist terrorism sponsored by neighboring Pakistan. They have also questioned the morality of supporting a cause that employs terrorist tactics to achieve political aims – as thousands of Indians get slaughtered by terrorists year after year. With Islamic State (ISIL) now recruiting in Indian subcontinent, the calls for a tough stand against global terrorism have grown stronger at home.


Early this year, India elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his center-right "Bharatiya Janata Party" on the main promise of turning around the economy and reining in the terrorism. Prime Minister Modi has an efficient track record as an administrator, as Chief Minister of the western Indian State of Gujarat (2001-2014), and has not disappointed his supporters by his governance since taking over the prime ministerial charge. He is also the first Indian leader to have actually visited Israel – before taking the PM's office. He never made a secret of his admiration for Israel's scientific and social achievements.

The political base that elected Prime Minister Modi to the office is overwhelmingly supportive of Israel. During the recent Gaza conflict India's youth showed unprecedented support for Israel. At the height of the conflict the hash-tag "IndiawithIsrael" was trending prominently on social media. On August 16, the city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) witnessed a 20,000-strong rally in support of Israel.

At the UN General Assembly Prime Minister Modi met his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on September 28, 2014. This meeting was followed by Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh's visit to Israel in November 2014. Minister Singh, a believing Hindu, prayed at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem – donning a white Kippah. He made a point to visit an Israeli boder outpost and allowed himself to be photographed with a group of women soldiers stationed at the post. Later, Minister Singh posted these images on social media along with a message appreciative of the Women serving in the IDF – making them go viral on Indian social media.

India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is also expected to visit Israel early next year. Her visit could pave the way for Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the State of Israel – first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the Jewish State.

PM Modi's attempts to forge a pro-Israel foreign policy has been meet with apprehension from left-leaning opposition parties. Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the main opposition group "Congress party" made scathing attacks calling PM Modi's foreign policy tilt a betrayal of "long tradition of solidarity with the people in Palestine" and "the vision of two states existing side-by-side." But with India's grand old "Congress Party" reduced to a mere shadow of its past glory after drubbings at the national and series of regional polls – leaves it hardly in a position to strong-arm a popular government on a policy issue.

The sources within the government have confirmed [The Hindu] that the groundwork for India's Foreign policy shift vis-à-vis Palestinian issue has been completed and "only needs an administrative nod".

Meanwhile, India and Israel are moving towards a Free-Trade Agreement. With Israel's bilateral trade with India pegged at US$ 6 billion compared to bilateral trade with China at US$ 10 billion – there is plenty of potential for developing further economic ties with India. With muted growth in European markets following the global economic crisis, India offers attractive growth opportunities for Israeli products and services. 
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