Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, New York, September 28, 2014(PIB)
When Narendra Modi visits Israel this year, it will be remarkable for two reasons: First, that it will be the first visit to the Israeli state by an Indian head of government; and second, that it will in all likelihood raise no eyebrows — never mind hackles — in the Arab world. The exact dates for the trip have not yet been announced, but it has been known for some weeks now that it will happen this summer. And yet, no Arab State has voiced any displeasure, not publicly, and not even through diplomatic back-channels.
This is nothing short of astonishing to anyone who, like your humble servant, grew up in the India of the 1970s and 80s, when it was routine for New Delhi to join the Arab chorus of condemnation for Israel at Tel Aviv’s every turn. Whether it was because of India’s need for Arab oil, or because there were so many Arab members of the benighted Non-Aligned Movement, or because the Jewish State was tied to the US while New Delhi was chummy with the USSR, or simply because so many in this country genuinely sympathised with the Palestinian cause, a succession of Indian governments avoided diplomatic relations with Israel.
If you’d told me then that an Indian PM would one day be making an official visit there, I’d have laughed you out of the room. But that prospect is no longer surprising: The two countries began building close ties in the 1990s, and are now locked in a tight embrace of economic, defence and security interests.
What is astonishing, though, is the absence of even a murmur of protest from India’s friends in the Arab world. West Asian diplomats quizzed by my colleagues at Hindustan Times have shrugged off the idea of Modi’s visit as a matter of realpolitik. One expressed the mild hope that the PM might also visit the West Bank, to show some solidarity with the Palestinians, but acknowledged that this is unlikely.
One reason for the Arab pococurantism over deepening Indo-Israeli relations is a resigned acceptance that the two countries have much in common, including their enemies, in the shape of Islamist terrorism. Another is a profound sense of Palestine fatigue in Arab capitals, whether on account of the interminable and intractable nature of the problem, or because other Arab peoples — Syrians, for one — are making a more pressing case for sympathy.
Source By http://www.hindustantimes.com