Robert Fisk is widely known British Journalist and expert on Middle East. He has written extensively on Middle East. In his recent article in British newspaper The Independent, he has exposed a dangerous military nexus between India and Israel against Pakistan. According to Robert Fisk, Israel played important role in burgeoning tensions between nuclear armed neighbours India and Pakistan. The international media ignored this important story. Both the nuclear states were on the verge of a war.
The Indian air force jets dropped Israeli made Rafael Spice-2000 smart bombs near Balakot in Pakistan. The bombing has revealed the close ties that have formed between Modi’s India and Netanyahu’s Israel, particularly between their militaries. Both the militaries have developed close relations in recent period. This nexus between India and Israel existed since 1990s but the military cooperation between the two has increased in last few years.
Both Israel and India once planned to attack the Pakistani nuclear facilities during Musharaf period. One of the former foreign ministers of Pakistan once confirmed that such plan was made by the two countries. Israeli military experts also trained the Indian Special Forces stationed in Indian occupied Kashmir to conduct the so-called counter terrorism operations.
For instance, according to Fisk, India was Israel’s arms industry’s largest client in 2017, spending nearly $700 million on Israeli air-defense systems, radars, ammunition and missiles. Many of those weapons had been promoted as “combat tested” after being used against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the world’s largest open-air prison. Israel exported 49% of its arms to India in 2017.
In addition to arms purchases, many Indian soldiers have traveled to the Negev desert to be trained by Israeli “special commando” units, and at least 16 elite Indian “Garud” commandos were recently based at two separate Israeli air bases.
They are not only cooperating on military field but also share the ethno nationalism and anti-Islam rhetoric between the two countries. Both are facing freedom struggles and want to continue the occupation of Palestine and Kashmir respectively through the brutal use of force.
For instance, Robert Fisk quoted a recent article by Shairee Malhotra in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that “the India-Israel relationship is also commonly being framed in terms of a natural convergence of rightwing ideas between their ruling BJP and Likud parties.” Other reports have noted that this has translated into more aggressive policies from Modi targeting Kashmir and Muslims elsewhere in India and that continued Israeli goading of Modi’s anti-Islam tendencies could make life much more difficult for the estimated 180 million Muslims living in India.
While some analysts and reports have warned about this danger, Fisk notes that it will be difficult to prevent the Zionist, fascist nationalism of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party from influencing India’s ruling party.
He wrote that “It is difficult to see how Zionist nationalism will not leach into Hindu nationalism when Israel is supplying so many weapons to India – the latest of which India, which has enjoyed diplomatic relations with Israel since 1992, has already used against Pakistan.”
Indeed, India’s actions in the Indian occupied Kashmir share many similarities to Israel’s neocolonial occupation of Palestine. For instance, the Muslim majority of Kashmir is treated as second-class citizens on their own land and their push for self-determination has been brutally suppressed by Indian forces. As of 2016, 500,000 Indian military personnel in the region were present in the region, roughly equating to one soldier for every 25 civilians. There have been more than 70,000 killings, about 10,000 enforced disappearances and 7,000 mass graves found since 1947 in Indian occupied Kashmir. Kashmiri people are paying heavy price of this nexus.
There are many other parallels between Kashmir and Palestine, including the fact that the British government shares a large share of the responsibility for both. Indeed, the British-brokered partition creating the current states of India and Pakistan in 1947 is the root of the current conflict in Kashmir much as the Britain-mandated creation of the Israeli state in 1948 is the root of the current conflict in Palestine. As far as Kashmiris and Palestinians are concerned, the governments of India and Israel picked up where their colonial master of years past left off.
If a deadly conflict ultimately breaks out between India and Pakistan, it will hardly be the first time Israel has armed controversial governments. Israel sold arms to the Rwandan government and was used in genocide. Israeli government provided arms to Myanmar which was used in ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. Yet, as Fisk notes, Israel’s export of Zionist nationalism and neocolonialism — and the accompanying oppression that in practice actually helps to create many of the very terrorist groups they fight against — is just as dangerous as its export of arms.
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17 November, 2019