Political realism and Israel policy

Dehypenating the Middle-East

Despite its non-aligned hangups the foreign policy of the Congress-led government in India is likely to be rooted in ‘political realism’ – and the institutional strategic relationships with the United States will continue, although with less enthusiastic public championing.

The loony Left’s involvement in foreign policy remains a wild card. For example, the fixation with the Palestinian struggle.

In addition, the Left wants a change in New Delhi’s West Asia policy. Under the BJP, because of ideological and pragmatic reasons, Indo-Israel ties had flowered in the international climate of Islamic terrorism; both saw themselves as its victims. Of course, it was the Narasimha Rao regime that inaugurated this pragmatic phase of Indo-Israel ties, but the Left balks at this bonhomie. Says Karat, “The tilt towards Israel should end. We don’t want any strategic tie-up with Israel. We want active sympathy for the Palestinian movement.” [Outlook]

Political realism will suggest that the new government continue the mutually beneficial relationship with Israel. But the Left front continues to think within the narrow confines of sympathy for the Palestinian movement as an antonym for a strategic relationship with Israel.

The loony Left also wants to repeal anti-terror legislation; so when Pakistani terrorists cross the border in Kashmir the loony Left will procure sensors, drones and surveillance equipment from the Palestinian Authority. Starting from a UN vote to oppose the creation of Israel, for well over half a century India has supported the Palestinian struggle at the expense of a strategic relationship with Israel. Yet the Arab countries show overt sympathy for Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir and have not been able to accept India – with the world’s second largest Muslim population – into the OIC. Neither has India’s support for the Palestinians succeeded in their adopting non-violent means in their struggle. Dogmatic support of the Palestinian struggle very often leads to giving a blank cheque to the most violent elements within the Palestinians – an outcome which is not helpful to the cause of peace at all.

Political realism will dictate India find ways to build a mutually beneficial relationship with Israel, de-hyphenated from sympathy for the Palestinian cause. Unless India has such a relationship, any criticism of the Israeli government’s actions to defend itself against Palestinian terrorism will be gratuitous, especially when there is no equivalent condemnation of the frequent acts of terrorism by the Palestinian terrorist groups.

Related Link: The Calcutta Telegraph advocates closer relations with US and Israel

There are, of course, a host of other issues on which the new government will be tempted to take an ideological position. But the real challenge is to advance the country’s national interest through pragmatic policies, implemented with surgical precision, even while it may be easier to shout slogans or take the moral high ground. [The Telegraph, Calcutta]

3 thoughts on “Political realism and Israel policy”

  1. Nitin,

    I hope your optimism about realism in the left is borne out. Unfortunately, Natwar’s appointment is a significantly retrograde step – he lives in a time warp that celebrates non-alignment. Also, the man’s arrogance knows no bounds. Not so long ago, he argued that India’s relations with 54 Muslim countries (and the remittances from Indians working there) should be dictate policy considerations.

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