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Indian-Israeli ties remain robust amid Israel's conflict with Iranian proxies Hamas and Hezbollah

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a joint press conference in New Delhi, India, January 15, 2018. (Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO)

At the official end of the Cold War, Israel and India established full diplomatic relations in 1992. Since then, the two nations have continued to develop close commercial, technological, diplomatic and security ties, with Israel emerging as a major exporter of military technology to the Indian Armed Forces.

Ever since the war began between Israel and Iran's terror proxy Hamas in Gaza - as well as skirmishes with Hezbollah forces in Lebanon - India has shown support for Israel and even quickly condemned the invasion and massacre of over 1,200 Israelis by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7.

In addition, both India and Israel both continue to face the ongoing threat of Islamist terrorism. Until now, India has typically refrained from supporting anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations. However, India’s general "pro-Israel" orientation has been somewhat challenged by its large Muslim minority (approximately 15% of the Indian population) who have so far unsuccessfully called for a shift toward anti-Israel policies.

While Israel is one of the pioneers and world leaders in the development of advanced military drones, it has limited production capabilities.

As a result, the Israeli defense company Elbit Systems formed a joint venture with Indian billionaire Gautam Adani to help produce Israeli-developed drones in India, reportedly the first time Israeli-developed drones were manufactured outside of Israel. Adani, who was listed as the third richest man in the world by Forbes Magazine early last year in January 2023, purchased Israel’s major maritime port in Haifa for an estimated NIS 4 billion ($1.15 billion).

In February, India supplied 20 Indian-produced and Israeli-developed advanced Hermes 900 drones to Israeli Defense Forces.

Cooperation between the two nations has not been limited to military arrangements.

In March, Israel prepared to welcome thousands of Indian workers to fill the employment shortage in the Israeli construction industry caused by the ongoing war in Gaza.

Daniel Carmon, a former Israeli ambassador to India, noted that India’s support for Israel is rooted in its appreciation for Israel’s support during difficult times.

"The Indians always remind us that Israel was there for them during the Kargil War," he said, referring to a war between India and Pakistan in 1999.

"Israel was one of the few countries that stood by them and provided them with weapons. The Indians don’t forget this and might now be returning the favor," the former Israeli ambassador assessed.

In May 2023, former Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen traveled to India to discuss a deepening of Indian Israeli ties with Indian leaders, including President Narendra Modi.

“India as a world power, the most populous country in the world and the fifth-largest economy, can play a central role in promoting the Abraham Accords and the economic connection between Israel and the moderate countries in the Middle East,” Cohen said at the time and praised Modi for his supportive position.

“Modi is one of the main reasons why relations between Israel and India today are the closest and strongest since the establishment of relations between the countries in 1992," he said.

In June 2022, Israel and India agreed to increase military cooperation.

At the time, then-Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, during his visit, stated: “India is an industrial superpower and Israel is a technological superpower – cooperation between our countries will expand the capabilities of both countries to contend with developing challenges.” 

In 1992, when Israel and India first established diplomatic relations, bilateral trade amounted to about $200 million. By 2021, bilateral trade between India and Israel had expanded to $6.3 billion.

Read more: INDIA

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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