Modi and Netanyahu are redefining ‘Security First’

In a short span of four and a half years, Modi has earned enormous appreciation worldwide for his economic reforms and foreign policy approach.

By
October 30, 2018 18:38
Modi and Netanyahu are redefining ‘Security First’

DATE IMPORTED: January 14, 2018 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi hug each other upon Netanyahu's arrival at Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi, India, January 14, 2018.. (photo credit: ADNAN ABIDI/ REUTERS)

The “security first” approach of vibrant democracies like India and Israel is fundamentally different from their non-democratic neighbors, who put enrichment of military power and the conception of world domination in center of their acts. In case of India and Israel, the idea of “security first” is rooted in their traditional philosophy, which advocates a strong defense and preparedness to deal with any kind of threats, but at the same time, it is aligned with the changing realities of the time. Today, the security of a country primarily depends on its economic and diplomatic strengths. Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu have acknowledged and acted on this changing reality much earlier than others. Both leaders have redefined the traditional “security first” approach to their country and its results are there for everyone to see.

This past August, while presenting the “2030 Security Concept” to his security cabinet, Netanyahu said, “The combination of our security and economic strengths will increase Israel’s status as an asset in the eyes of other countries and thereby increase our diplomatic strength.” Throughout his tenure, Netanyahu has dedicated his efforts in not only building strong military and intelligence capabilities, but has also taken several courageous steps to revive the Israeli economy, which in turn strengthened Israel’s global standing and strategic position.

The change in Israel’s global image from a conflict zone to start-up nation happened under the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu. He has not only restored Israel’s traditional “security first” approach to diplomacy, but has expanded its scope to include the economic power, which is also crucial for Israel’s global standing. Earlier there was an image that Israel reaches out to the world for its strategic needs only, which was required at that point in time, but today Israel is reaching out to the world to offer its innovation and technological assets and the world has started looking at its national and security needs more seriously than before. That’s a big change that this Israeli administration has brought!

The transition in Israel-Arab relations is one of the Netanyahu administration’s diplomatic successes, too. As former head of Israel’s National Security Council, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan said last year in an interview, “We can continue to build a vibrant Jewish and democratic state while offering our expertise to those around us. If we do this, many of our former enemies will eventually say, we want to do for our people what you do for yours.”

On September 29, 2016, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes across the Line of Control in PoK (Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir) and demonstrated to the world that India, which always practices restraint, can also show power when needed. The Indian government has set up a Strategic Planning Group to assist the National Security Council of the country. The SPG comprises the National Security adviser, the chiefs of all three defense services, the governor of Reserve Bank of India, the vice chairman of NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India, a policy think tank of Indian government), cabinet secretary, foreign secretary, home secretary, finance secretary and defense secretary, as well as other key bureaucrats of the defense, energy and finance ministries.

Modi has taken up a huge step toward ending India’s silo-based approach to security, which used to cause a delay in decision making on key issues related to national security. India is going to release its first national security strategy, too. This past April, the Indian government set up a defense planning committee to prepare the draft of national security strategy and to facilitate the comprehensive planning for defense forces. In a short span of four and a half years, Modi has earned enormous appreciation worldwide for his economic reforms and foreign policy approach. With a combination of an iron-fist strategy toward internal/external security challenges, policy reforms and a development-focused approach, Modi is solving some of the decades-old problems of insurgency and left-wing extremism in the country’s key border states.

A fragmented approach often led toward an extremist system. India and Israel both needed a holistic approach to their security interests. A careful observation of both countries’ transformation journey reveals that their leaders have a holistic vision related to the security of their land.  Before 2014, a comparison between Indian and Israeli leadership’s approach to security seemed like a joke, but since 2014, things have changed a lot! Modi is from a party whose founding fathers have an entirely different approach to national security from Nehru’s Congress (the longest ruling party of India). Jawaharlal Nehru (the first prime minister of India) was of the opinion that armed forces were not required for India.

On the other hand, the ideological guide of the BJP (the current ruling party of India), Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, subscribed to the doctrine that preparedness to strike is the best defense policy. He was a firm supporter of preparedness of every individual for the defense of the nation and a strong advocate of compulsory military training for the youth of the country. He strongly advocated the adoption of advanced technologies in defense and modernization of armed and police forces. Inspired by the core philosophy of Upadhyaya, Modi designed a holistic vision for the security of the country. In his first tenure, Modi launched wide-ranging plans for military modernization, police force modernization and border management. There is visible optimism in the defense and security ecosystem of the country, too. For the first time, the government is reaching out to the defense industry, MSMEs/Startups and facilitating their participation in the defense supply chain through different creative media and platforms.

When it comes to security, the acts of both Modi and Netanyahu are not limited to merely institutional improvements, they both have an understanding on how to develop a sustainable system through ideas, something that can be carried forward into the future, as institutions are finite but ideas are not!

Looking at today’s India-Israel relations in the light of a mere ‘Buyer-Seller’ perspective would be an injustice. The potential of this partnership is huge! Both countries have a “security first” vision that is similar in nature and this truth is a solid base for future engagement.

The writer promotes advanced technologies, startup ecosystems and the Indian government’s business- and technology-related initiatives like Digital India, Make in India, Smart Cities, Startup India, etc. http://www.jpost.com/Author/Devsena-Mishra


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