Sunday, January 8

A world without Sharon

With Ariel Sharon struggling for life after a recent hemorrhage, the world is busy speculating Israel after him, the possible leaders who could take his place – if any could at all- and what Sharon’s exit from politics at such a crucial time of Mid-Eastern peace could mean for world. While many are praying and hoping he recovers enough to return to active politics, the PLO and other anti-Israel factions are hoping he ‘dies’. What has sparked such deliberation and concern is that Sharon has been one of the few charismatic and ‘capable’ leaders who in recent times pulled out largely of the Gaza strip, signaling a big step towards peace in the Mid-East.

Looking at it from an Indian perspective is also very important especially after his visit to India in 2003. Speaking during his visit Sharon said, “We regard India to be one of the most important countries in the world; we share our belief in democracy and I hope that my visit here will contribute in strengthening our relations with India and developing them...We believe we can do many things together in many fields...”

Though India and Israel gained independence almost simultaneously (Aug. 1947 and May 1948), diplomatic relations between them started taking shape only after 1992, when the then PM Narsimha Rao initiated dialogue between the two countries. India and Israel are seen to be ‘natural allies’ what with both being functional democracies hounded by large scale terrorism from across their borders and Islamic insurgency and both being home to large domestic Muslim populations. Both countries have made significant progress in combating insurgency and mutual cooperation in anti-insurgency tactics and defense preparedness as a whole is a very important factor of this friendship. Since 1992 various treaties have been signed and deals finalized in not just arms trade but also other areas like intelligence, information technology, agriculture, environment, pharmaceuticals, human rights etc. In an in depth analysis of the Indo-Israeli relations Harsh Pant elaborates how it is a mutually beneficial relationship and India should follow the course it is treading now.

Now with Sharon’s exist almost decided, who his heir would be is of importance to India too. Tough none of the probable leaders display anti-India stances and understand the importance of Indo-Israeli cooperation, a totally anti-palestian leader would not be exactly easy to handle. India had been one of the first countries to recognize the PLO and it was a deterrent in furthering ties with Israel in the early years. If the new leader is to rake up the issue, it could damage the relations severely. Also India has one of the largest Muslim populations in the world and an anti-Arab stance on part of India would not go down well. Considering the geo-strategic importance of the alliance – the region between Israel and India is seen as one whole region of influence with two functional democracies ‘restricting’ the politically volatile countries and their influence between them and could in future even aid democratic setups in the region – it would be loss to India, who is trying to emerge as a global player, if ties sour over any issue.

Though India does not have as much to worry over the matter as the Mid-East and probably the US, it does need to keep track and take the right steps at the right time. Change in the leadership of a country of strategic importance to another nation, is an important point in that nation’s foreign affairs and it is best not overlooked.

5 comments:

Ajay said...

hey i have gr8 info stuff buddy.... thats good....
and thanks for the info mate....

Bhupi said...

How do u get time to read so much and then write about it. Its really imressive. This article is very informative...something i didn't hear abt before. liked it. Keep writing stuff like that.

Manasi said...

Hay Ajay and Bhupi, thanks! I hope to continue writing.

Supremus said...

hey Manasi,

great stuff here - I think it will be interesting to see how all of this plays out - the problem now is that the leader of Israel is a staunch anti=palestine man and very right wingish; which doesnt bear good news either for palestine or rest of arab world. I think sharon was at the least trying, though my friends tell me even he was a pucca politician.

Great write up - will read more from your blog...

Suyog

*`~. R a j .~`* said...

quite informative but the too long to keep ur interest alive ...