People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 22, 2007
Reverse Military Colloboration With Israel
AS we go to press the national media reports of a dangerously disturbing development that India is to launch an Israeli spy satellite called Techsar (ToI, July 18). Once launched this satellite will be completely under the control of Israeli military. The satellite has advanced technological capabilities to locate very tiny objects. In other words, it can read the individual movement of people (particularly Palestinians) considered by Israel to have a potential danger to its security. This represents a big leap in the growing Indo-Israeli military colloboration.
Such expanding military colloboration with Israel comes at a time when Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and the consequent denial of the legitimate right to a homeland for the Palestinians enters its 41st year. India has all along unambiguously reiterated that it – along with a plethora of UN Security Council resolutions – stands for the unqualified withdrawal of all occupation by Israel. India is also committed to the creation of an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. These commitments sound hollow in the face of such rapid growth in military ties with Israel. For in the final analysis military purchases from Israel only constitute a source of financing the occupation of Palestinian lands, the associated horrendous crimes against humanity and denying its peoples a nation. Such growing military colloboration is therefore simply unacceptable. It is a great travesty of India’s commitments and this UPA government’s reiteration in the Common Minimum Programme of unqualified solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle.
During 2006, Israel has become India’s biggest military supplier after Russia, providing defence equipment worth US $1.6 billion. Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Security chaired by prime minister Manmohan Singh cleared the setting up of a joint venture for production of new generation missiles at an estimated cost of US $2.5 billion or more than Rs 10,000 crore. India’s high security public sector firm, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), will be the “prime contractor” for the project which will have an indigenous investment of Rs 2300 crore. This is the second range of Israeli missiles that India would be acquiring. Recently, India concluded a deal for acquiring 18 Spyder missile systems for countering threats from low flying aircrafts. In addition, in January 2006, India entered into a US $480 million deal with Israel Aerospace Industries for a missile system for the Indian Navy.
Indo-Israeli defence ties are showing a sudden upswing spurt, having begun in 1999. Such growing military colloboration with Israel is not in India’s interests. Apart from contributing to the financing of Israeli occupation of Arab lands and the virtual isolation of the Palestinian towns and villages along with a rapid and voluminous settlement of Jewish settlers in the occupied lands, such growing military ties also expose India’s security establishment and the all important DRDO to Israeli penetration. The work of Israeli covert operations organisations like the Mossad is well known internationally. At a time when international opinion is veering around towards imposing restrictions on economic cooperation with Israel until it vacates its illegal occupation, India’s growing military colloboration completely negates its overt statements of solidarity with the Palestinian cause. It must be remembered that India’s bonds with the Palestinian cause go back to the early decades of the twentieth century when in the midst of our freedom struggle the Indian people asserted the right of the Palestinians for a homeland. These traditions cannot be abandoned, neither can we strengthen the hands of those who deny the Palestinians their right to a homeland today.
Such growing military colloboration with Israel cannot but be seen as a hostile act by many Arab regimes. This again is not in India’s interests. There are more than five million Indians working in Arab countries and the value of trade between India and the Arab world is more than US $25 billion. Sixty per cent of Indian gas and oil imports worth $20 billion annually come from the Arab world. Under these circumstances, even in terms of protecting India’s own national interests such growing military colloboration with Israel is simply self-defeating.
Such a colloboration would also negate the vast potential that India has in playing a crucial role to resolve the West Asian crisis and deliver justice to the Palestinian people. Instead, India is increasingly being seen as a partner of Israel in the continuing heaping of crimes against the Palestinians and the wars of aggression that are periodically launched like the recent one against Lebanon.
This is simply not acceptable. India must reverse this growing military colloboration with Israel. This colloboration cannot be justified, under the present circumstances, as India furthering its national interests. India’s national interests can never be served by collaborating with Israel militarily as it continues to deny the Palestinians their elementary rights and therefore emerge as the focus of instability and insecurity in West Asia.
Therefore, in India’s national interests, in the interests of pursuing an independent foreign policy and of strengthening the bonds of solidarity with the Palestinian cause, in the interests of not providing grist to the terrorist mill in India, in the interests of not undermining the friendly ties with the Arab world, these growing military ties with Israel must stop forthwith. Above all, this is required in the name of humanism, to further the human values of the inalienable right of a people to a homeland and to their choice of their social and political systems and dignified existence.