Redefining ‘Strategic’ Cooperation

P.R. Kumaraswamy is Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
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  • July 2017

    A quarter century after normalisation of relations, India and Israel have shown considerable maturity in handling bilateral relations and dexterity in managing their occasional differing worldviews. Relations have weathered political changes within India as well as periodic upheavals in West Asia and the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Military-security cooperation played a pivotal role in carrying forward relations even when political contacts were minimal, as was the case during the decade-long United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule. A crucial aspect of bilateral relations has been Israel’s ability to utilise the federal system in India to its advantage by actively engaging with various state governments. As a result, cooperation in the fields of agriculture and water management, among others, has emerged as the principal tool in the promotion of Indo-Israeli relations. Besides boosting economic ties, this strategy is also aimed at providing and consolidating the support base in India beyond the urban elites.