Narendra Modi is all set to be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel.
This is what this “first” really means: closer military and trade ties with Israel.
Closer military ties with Israel make India complicit in Israel’s war crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories. The Israeli military industry, the largest industry in the country and perhaps the main prop of the national economy, is fully a part of the Israeli war machine that occupies Palestinian lands, makes Gaza an open air prison, and imposes apartheid policies on Palestinians.
India’s desire for closer military ties comes at a time when even Israel’s close supporters in the international community, are staying away from arms trade with Israel. Many countries such as the UK and France have declined to participate in the seventh annual Israel Defense expo that has just opened in Tel Aviv.
Closer trade ties with Israel means that India will flout a growing international movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel, and help whitewash Brand Israel — by conducting business as usual with a country that does not respect international law.
Added to this, is the hypocrisy of pretending that closer ties with Israel, which is occupying Palestine in open violation of various UN resolutions, can be forged side by side with “continued support to the Palestinian cause”. The announcement of PM’s visit shows that the Indian government has forgotten what Gandhi, Nehru and India’s freedom movement said about Palestine. No wonder Israel’s Ambassador Daniel Carmon celebrates this loss of Indian official memory by saying “High level visits between both countries… are a natural ingredient of tightening relationship between Israel and India.”
We, as Indian citizens of conscience, protest this “tightening” relationship, and demand that the government put an end to military, trade and other ties with apartheid Israel.
Githa Hariharan, Sukumar Muralidharan, Prabir Purkayastha, Pushpamala N, Seema Mustafa, Pallab Sengupta
Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (InCACBI)
The Palestine Solidarity Committee in India