In a historic first, Indian president Pranab Mukherjee has travelled to Israel and Palestine for the first ever visit to these territories by an Indian head of state. Tomohiro Ohsumi / Bloomberg
In a historic first, Indian president Pranab Mukherjee has travelled to Israel and Palestine for the first ever visit to these territories by an Indian head of state. Tomohiro Ohsumi / Bloomberg

India telegraphs its intentions with state visit to Israel



In a historic first, Indian president Pranab Mukherjee has travelled to Israel and Palestine for the first ever visit to these territories by an Indian head of state. Despite India sharing 23 years of diplomatic ties with Israel and working closely on defence, counter- terrorism, agriculture and energy related issues, no Indian prime minister or president has ever previously visited it.

Later this year, Narendra Modi is also likely to become the first prime minister of India to visit Israel. Mr Modi had visited Israel as the chief minister of Gujarat in 2006. And as Indian prime minister, he met Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last year.

A hallmark of Mr Modi’s foreign policy has been a self-confident assertion of Indian interests. This is reflected in his government’s moves in relation to Israel, marking a distinct break from the diffidence of the past.

There has been a steady strengthening of India’s relationship with Israel ever since the two established full diplomatic relations in 1992.

In contrast to the back-channel security ties that existed before the normalisation of bilateral relations, India has been more willing to carve out a mutually beneficial relationship with Israel, including strengthening military ties and countering the threat terrorism poses to the two societies.

Over the years, the Indian government has also toned down its reactions to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

India has also begun denouncing violent acts in Israel, something that was seen earlier as rather justified in light of the Israeli policies against Palestinians. India is no longer initiating anti-Israel resolutions at the UN. This re-evaluation has been based on the belief that India’s largely pro-Arab stance in the Middle East has not been always adequately rewarded.

India has received little backing over the issue of Kashmir. Generally, the Arab world has stood by Pakistan, using the Organisation of Islamic Conference to build support for Islamabad in Kashmir. If some Arab countries, such as Jordan, have been able to keep their traditional ties with the Palestinians intact while building a new relationship with Israel, there is no reason for India not to take a similar route is the argument that holds sway in New Delhi.

Keeping India’s wider strategic interests in perspective, successive Indian governments since the early 1990s have walked a line between expressing genuine concern for the Palestinian cause and expanding its commercial and defence ties with Israel. India is the world’s largest buyer of Israeli weaponry and was Israel’s third largest trading partner in Asia in 2013 after China and Hong Kong.

On several occasions, Israel was willing to step up its arms sales to India after other major states curbed their technological exports following India’s May 1998 nuclear tests. When India was planning to undertake a limited military strike against Pakistan in June 2002 as part of Operation Parakram, Israel supplied hardware through special planes. Previous Indian governments had been reticent in acknowledging Israel’s partnership.

In diplomacy, public affirmation of friendships at the highest levels is often as important as drawing redlines for adversaries. After a major outreach to the UAE, the Modi government is also taking a step forward in its ties with Tel Aviv in the belief that an open relationship with Israel serves India well.

Harsh V Pant is a reader in international studies at King’s College London

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Hatta v Al Jazira, 4.55pm
Al Wasl v Dibba, 7.45pm

Friday:
Al Dhafra v Al Nasr, 5.05pm
Shabab Al Ahli Dubai v Al Wahda, 7.45pm

Saturday:
Ajman v Emirates, 4.55pm
Al Ain v Sharjah, 7.45pm

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

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Source: Emirates

A Prayer Before Dawn

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Starring: Joe Cole, Somluck Kamsing, Panya Yimmumphai

Three stars

Company Profile

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Started: 2023
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What it means to be a conservationist

Who is Enric Sala?

Enric Sala is an expert on marine conservation and is currently the National Geographic Society's Explorer-in-Residence. His love of the sea started with his childhood in Spain, inspired by the example of the legendary diver Jacques Cousteau. He has been a university professor of Oceanography in the US, as well as working at the Spanish National Council for Scientific Research and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Biodiversity and the Bio-Economy. He has dedicated his life to protecting life in the oceans. Enric describes himself as a flexitarian who only eats meat occasionally.

What is biodiversity?

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, all life on earth – including in its forests and oceans – forms a “rich tapestry of interconnecting and interdependent forces”. Biodiversity on earth today is the product of four billion years of evolution and consists of many millions of distinct biological species. The term ‘biodiversity’ is relatively new, popularised since the 1980s and coinciding with an understanding of the growing threats to the natural world including habitat loss, pollution and climate change. The loss of biodiversity itself is dangerous because it contributes to clean, consistent water flows, food security, protection from floods and storms and a stable climate. The natural world can be an ally in combating global climate change but to do so it must be protected. Nations are working to achieve this, including setting targets to be reached by 2020 for the protection of the natural state of 17 per cent of the land and 10 per cent of the oceans. However, these are well short of what is needed, according to experts, with half the land needed to be in a natural state to help avert disaster.

Milestones on the road to union

1970

October 26: Bahrain withdraws from a proposal to create a federation of nine with the seven Trucial States and Qatar. 

December: Ahmed Al Suwaidi visits New York to discuss potential UN membership.

1971

March 1:  Alex Douglas Hume, Conservative foreign secretary confirms that Britain will leave the Gulf and “strongly supports” the creation of a Union of Arab Emirates.

July 12: Historic meeting at which Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid make a binding agreement to create what will become the UAE.

July 18: It is announced that the UAE will be formed from six emirates, with a proposed constitution signed. RAK is not yet part of the agreement.

August 6:  The fifth anniversary of Sheikh Zayed becoming Ruler of Abu Dhabi, with official celebrations deferred until later in the year.

August 15: Bahrain becomes independent.

September 3: Qatar becomes independent.

November 23-25: Meeting with Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid and senior British officials to fix December 2 as date of creation of the UAE.

November 29:  At 5.30pm Iranian forces seize the Greater and Lesser Tunbs by force.

November 30: Despite  a power sharing agreement, Tehran takes full control of Abu Musa. 

November 31: UK officials visit all six participating Emirates to formally end the Trucial States treaties

December 2: 11am, Dubai. New Supreme Council formally elects Sheikh Zayed as President. Treaty of Friendship signed with the UK. 11.30am. Flag raising ceremony at Union House and Al Manhal Palace in Abu Dhabi witnessed by Sheikh Khalifa, then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

December 6: Arab League formally admits the UAE. The first British Ambassador presents his credentials to Sheikh Zayed.

December 9: UAE joins the United Nations.

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Bantamweight title:
Vinicius de Oliveira (BRA) bt Xavier Alaoui (MAR)
(KO round 2)
Catchweight 68kg:
Sean Soriano (USA) bt Noad Lahat (ISR)
(TKO round 1)
Middleweight:
Denis Tiuliulin (RUS) bt Juscelino Ferreira (BRA)
(TKO round 1)
Lightweight:
Anas Siraj Mounir (MAR) bt Joachim Tollefsen (DEN)
(Unanimous decision)
Catchweight 68kg:
Austin Arnett (USA) bt Daniel Vega (MEX)
(TKO round 3)
Lightweight:
Carrington Banks (USA) bt Marcio Andrade (BRA)
(Unanimous decision)
Catchweight 58kg:
Corinne Laframboise (CAN) bt Malin Hermansson (SWE)
(Submission round 2)
Bantamweight:
Jalal Al Daaja (CAN) bt Juares Dea (CMR)
(Split decision)
Middleweight:
Mohamad Osseili (LEB) bt Ivan Slynko (UKR)
(TKO round 1)
Featherweight:
Tarun Grigoryan (ARM) bt Islam Makhamadjanov (UZB)
(Unanimous decision)
Catchweight 54kg:
Mariagiovanna Vai (ITA) bt Daniella Shutov (ISR)
(Submission round 1)
Middleweight:
Joan Arastey (ESP) bt Omran Chaaban (LEB)
(Unanimous decision)
Welterweight:
Bruno Carvalho (POR) bt Souhil Tahiri (ALG)
(TKO)

The Roundup : No Way Out

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Don Lee, Lee Jun-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki
Rating: 3/5

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