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India Shifting to the West with New Support for Israel

Written by Nico Fodo

Edited by Queenie Lin and Annika Lilja


Israel's Prime Minister Netahyahu and India's Prime Minister Modi | Image Credit: Avi Ohayon, GPO

India has made a huge shift towards the West, with their President Modi siding with Israel in the current battle between Israel and Hamas. In 1947 India voted against the UN Palestine Partition Two State solution plan, and since 1992, India had been neutral in Israel-Palestine conflicts after former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (in office until 1962) established diplomatic relations with Israel. However, India is now offering support to Israel in its war against Hamas, and the reason is its longtime nemesis, China. Ever since China defeated India in the 1969 Sino-Indian War, the two states have been in a friendly stalemate, constantly engaging in border tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). While the LAC gained legal recognition in Sino-Indian agreements, India and China have different perceptions of where the border lies. Usually, China would passively invade India, such as the Galwan Valley conflict in 2020 when India accused China of building tents and observation towers in its territories, ultimately ending in a violent skirmish.


The tension between these two countries has gotten worse in the past few years, generally with China being the aggressor. While India is part of BRICS with China, an economic alliance comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (hence the name), it is purely for trade benefit and they still have their diplomatic differences. But India is much less scared about China’s attacks now because the US has been giving help, such as when they gave India real-time details of an upcoming border aggression by the Chinese military on December 9th of last year along the LAC. Though India upset the United States when they kept purchasing Russian oil, sanctions provided the opportunity to buy Russian oil at very low prices, fill their reserves completely, and then sell the excess oil to Europe at a huge profit.


But India's offering to support Israel in this war makes up for it in spades. For many warfare issues, China and Russia often take the opposite stance of the United States. Because the majority of the United States has taken a pro-Israel stance, China and Russia will want to support the opposite side; the same applies to the situations of Ukraine and Taiwan. Another reason China and Russia support Hamas is to help their close ally, Iran.


Iran, the main source of funding and weapons to prominent anti-Israel terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas, wants to destroy Israel, as they have been helping the terrorist groups strengthen their militaries for battles they would initiate with Israel, such as in 2009, 2014, and 2021. They have been trying to convince India that their support for Israel is not a good idea, but there's nothing that they can do. There's no way for Russia or China to intimidate India either. Russia relies on India’s oil purchases to keep its economy afloat, and China wants to keep India in BRICS. Since India is BRICS’s second wealthiest nation, BRICS’s economic power and influence severely decreases if India leaves.


India is a huge country with over 1.4 billion people; they have more people than China, and their economy is growing faster than a lot of the other major ones. The US is not only backing India militarily, but they're also investing and making India a technology superpower by spending tens of billions of dollars to build semiconductor plants in the country.


India's newfound support for Israel signifies a pivotal shift in its diplomatic stance, perhaps to secure its interests amid evolving geopolitical landscapes.

 

Sources:


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Naym Pieal, Jannatul. "India Once Was a Strong Ally of Palestine. What Changed?" The Diplomat, 6 Nov. 2023, https://thediplomat.com/2023/11/india-once-was-a-strong-ally-of-palestine-what-changed/.




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"What You Need to Know About the Iran-backed Terror Group Hamas and its Attack on Israel." AJC/ Global Voice, 15 Oct. 2023, www.ajc.org/news/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-iran-backed-terror-group-hamas-and-its-attack-on-israel.


Wong, Hayley. "Israel's Close Economic Ties with China Worked Well – until the Gaza Conflict." South China Morning Post, 2 Nov. 2023, www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3240061/israels-close-economic-relationship-china-worked-well-until-gaza-conflict-revealed-its-limits.


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