Indo-Israel Strategic Partnership and its impact on Pakistan’s Foreign policy and national security

India and Israel have a deep rooted strategic partnership ever since the 1990’s. Initially, India did not recognize Israel in 1950 because India did not want to ruin its relations with USSR as USSR was at good ties with the Muslim states around Israel. So Israel did not keep much significance for India. However, it was not until 1992 when India established full diplomatic relations with Israel since she was prevailing politically and strategically and also became a nuclear weapon state. Not only India but Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, UAE and Turkey have also recognized it despite their stance on Palestine.

Ever since India and Israel opened their embassies in each other’s state that was the beginning of Indo-Israel partnership. One of the theory also suggests that this partnership was well-planned even before 1990’s because few of MOSSAD’S agents were suspected in Kashmir premises. Today, India is one of the largest arms importer of Israel and it constitutes around 50% of Israel’s defense exports and approximately 30% of India’s imports as India also imports from Russia and United States.

Economically, as soon as India and Israel enhanced their ties they signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which was expected to raise the annual trade from $5 billion per annum to $15 billion per annum. Moreover, Israel has already started investing in Indian states including Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Punjab. This will boost India’s economy and also help the underdeveloped states to develop.

India is also known to be the second-largest Asian economic partner of Israel. In August of 2012, India and Israel signed an academic research agreement which was worth $50 million. This enhanced India’s research institutes as well. Furthermore, the two nations are also negotiating on an extensive bilateral free trade pact which would be focusing on areas such as information technology, biotechnology and agriculture.

The arms race between India and Pakistan is mostly propagated by Israel as it has a much modernized military and what gives India an edge is that Pakistan has still not recognized Israel as a state. Furthermore, the most important project on which India and Israel are working on is the RISAT-2 Spy Satellite. If India acquires this technology then India would be able to check on the adversary’s movement, deployment, size, mobilization pattern and strategic sites from the space which would result in a big trouble for Pakistan because there will not be any confidentiality. It has day and night viewing capability and will keep a continuous watch over Pakistan even when the landmass is covered by a thick cloud cover.  

After 1999 Kargil War, India started purchasing UAV’s from Israel to keep a check on the disputed areas. It is basically a supply of lethal drones to India which can assist in taking out high value targets like radars, military installations and missile deployed sites. Heron TP and Armed UAV’s are an example. India is also planning to acquire Electronic Warfare and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle from Israel and this will not only enhance its capabilities of reconnaissance, communication, information, and coordination between its military nevertheless, it also poses a grave threat to the security of Pakistan.

India purchased LOROS from Israel to place it on Kashmir border since it detects people from coming and going along with thermal imaging. Moreover, Israel also helped India in improving its Special Protection Group which is appointed for Prime Minister and Jewish lobby has also promoted India diplomatically in the international community.

Indo-Israel strategic partnership is increasing day by day and is bringing technological revolution in India’s military. This is threatening for Pakistan as it does not have enough budget to afford all the modernized technology on which India is spending billions. Pakistan severely needs to improve its bilateral relations with other militarily strong countries like USA, France, Germany, Russia and China.

 Pakistan needs to keep in mind how strong Indo-Israeli strategic partnership is so Pakistan has to develop and equip its military with latest weaponry. It has to rely on its indigenous defense industry for the maintenance and development of its military machine. Since Pakistan does not have a very stable economy so it has to maintain strategic parity with India within the resources that are available.

India is following a similar model in Kashmir which Israel follows in Palestine issue. India is practicing ethnic cleansing and forced conversions just like Israel did in Palestine. Both the states have an anti-Muslim agenda which again is a threat to Pakistan’s national security. Israel’s presence in the Middle East is creating scuffles for the Muslim countries around it along with illegal annexations of areas like Golan Height and West Bank. Now it is interfering in Syria and in the long term plans to enter Iraq. Similarly, India is amending the citizen’s bill and abrogating the articles related to Kashmir which portrays the similar ideology. It will impact Pakistan’s foreign policy as well as its internal security as both the states have an influential image in the international community.

Pakistan will be in a state where it will be suffering from response dilemma. However, this will put a restrain on Pakistan’s budget as Pakistan is already a weak economy with many internal security issues. If Pakistan only focuses on the arms race with India then it will become a hindrance in Pakistan’s capacity to industrialize and create employment opportunities for its citizens. The unemployed youth then has resentment issues against the government.

The restrain on economy will also lead to management issues as the citizens will have grievances so other foreign enemies of Pakistan utilizes it as an opportunity to hire mercenaries. Hybrid warfare strategy being practiced in Baluchistan through BLA is basically an exploitation of the naïve and sentimental people. It is pretty evident that BLA is backed and sponsored by India. The internal insurgencies like these create security threats and destabilization of the state.

India also has good terms with the US and although Pakistan is a declared ally of US, but it is more tilted towards India and Israel. All the Israel’s military transactions are first approved by US then they are further proceeded and unfortunately US approves and would approve all these transactions without considering Pakistan’s future. This is because of the weak foreign policy of Pakistan.

India conducted five nuclear tests in May 1998 out of which two were for Israel and this imposes a greater threat to Pakistan’s security because conventional gains of India is already a big challenge for Pakistan and with that, the collaborative nuclear attack would destroy Pakistan and would eliminate the state from the global map forever.

India and Israel might have actually thought of attacking Pakistan, but circumstances of the nuclear deterrence are different for Israel as well as for India which is why Israel is inhibiting in keeping this option open. Moreover, if Israel provides India with anti-ballistic missiles then the deterrence factor of Pakistan would be of no use.

US is very passionate about Israel so India takes the advantage to pursue strong lobbying in the US against Pakistan because the Jewish lobby is so far the most influential with over seven million members. For example in the case of FATF Pakistan requires abundant international support but it does not have it because of the anti-blocks like India and Israel. As long as Pakistan stays in the Grey List then foreign direct investments and funding would continue to decrease, however, not to ignore that the investments are Pakistan’s right because it also actively participated in Global War on Terror but the continuous decline in the international standing would take a toll on Pakistan’s foreign policy.

As analyzed above Indo-Israel strategic partnership is beyond limits. Their bilateral trade and agreements keeps on progressing. The continuous export of weaponry from Israel to India has become an element of surprise for Pakistan. However, this poses great threat to Pakistan’s national security because Pakistan has always been conventionally weak from India that is the reason Pakistan developed its nuclear weapon in the first place, to deter India from it. Moreover, India quite frequently resorts to border skirmishes so she will not be hesitant in using modernized weaponry and technology against Pakistan.

Pakistan needs to strengthen its ties with its allies especially China. The rivalry between India and China is an opportunity on which Pakistan can cash on. Pakistan should not just tilt itself towards one bloc but it should also make ties with US and Russia as it will open a room to maneuver and avoid security issues. Moreover, Pakistan’s reputation has already been distorted and associated with terrorism and extremism so Indo-Israel close partnership is a threat to Pakistan’s foreign policy. Pakistan should initiate indigenous weapon development and ageing fleets including warships or tanks. It should replace and enhance the rusted weaponry because if there is freedom only then Pakistan can prosper.

Kashaf Sohail
Kashaf Sohail
Undergraduate IR scholar at Bahria University, Islamabad. Interested in exploring how the globalized world interacts in the wake of terrorism and divisions between Global North and Global South. Versatile Content Writer proficient in researching, writing and editing diverse content. I yearn for community service and love to work out.