Israeli ambassador to India Ron Malka’s assurance of unwavering military support to India seems to be aimed at the latter’s arch-rivals — Pakistan and its ‘iron brother’ China as tensions escalate in Asia.
On December 17, Ron Malka ‘officially’ announced that the Jewish nation would provide whatever ‘friend’ India needs to defend itself. The announcement assumes significance in view of the emerging geopolitical scenario during the COVID-19 pandemic.
First, it was the UAE, then Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco followed by establishing their full diplomatic ties with Israel. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is likely to follow suit. Pakistan has desisted and is isolated from the Arab states, which are all soon to embrace Israel.
Pakistan is having a sword of Damocles hanging on it as it faces a veiled threat from the KSA of curtailment of job visas to its citizens in the same manner as the UAE has already done. India has proposed a ‘replacement’ by its workforce. Israel wants Pakistanis to be shunted out of the KSA and the UAE. China too has been forced to ‘cut a sorry figure’ as now the whole Middle-East market would be for the US to monopolize.
Israel won’t be found wanting in meeting India’s requirements to defend itself against all challenges and hostilities although such cooperation is not directed against any other country (read Pakistan and China), Israeli ambassador Ron Malka told the Hindustan Times.
The historic ELAL flight LY555 took off this morning from Israel's Ben Gurion intl airport to Rabat, #Morocco. Onboard it, a senior ???? delegation and the hopes of the entire nation for the successful promotion of the new ???? friendship. pic.twitter.com/XytbHmWdS4
— Israel ישראל (@Israel) December 22, 2020
Malka was careful in his statement upon being asked whether India had made any defense equipment requests amid the conflict with China, saying, “Since we have a strong friendship, whatever India needs from Israel to defend itself, we are there and available to India because this is how we manage our friendships and especially a precious friendship like with India.”
“But I have to stress that we are not against anyone, we have enough (problems of our own), so we are not against anyone but we are in favor of India…and we also trust India and the bold and strong leadership of India, that India knows how to manage its affairs wisely,” HT quoted him as saying.
He indicated that India didn’t need Israel against any country, rather “you need us to share with you the experience and practices since we share similar challenges and similar hostilities (from Arab neighbors like India faces from Pakistan).”
India facilitated the opening of the Israeli embassy in Bhutan on December 12. It is certain that in the probable face-off with Pakistan and China, Israel will openly stand with India, more particularly, after the signing of BECA with the US, as the US and Israel are two inseparable allies for the last 70 years. Ironically, the KSA and the US also fall under the same category.
Therefore, a declaration from Ron Malka was just a formality as now Israel will provide technology, weaponry, servicing, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, media, radar systems, drones or Iron Domes, etc. to India. It may even lead to Israel’s actual participation in the war from the Indian side, as that is what the word ‘whatever’ used by Malka implies.
But the big question is how would Israel help? The possibility of Saudi Arabia providing its airbases to Israel from where its fighter jets would attack Pakistan just cannot be ruled out, given the hostility Saudi Arabia has shown since August 6 when the Pakistan foreign minister had distanced himself from the KSA-run Organization of Islamic Countries.
Foreign Minister @Gabi_Ashkenazi signed agreements today with ?? and ?? to boost cooperation in Health, Aviation & Tourism! #IsraelLooksEast @indemtel @DrRonMalka @NadavEshcar @IsraelinIndia @IsraelinVietnam pic.twitter.com/AIfPF0rVvi
— Gilad Cohen ?? (@GiladCohen_) December 21, 2020
It is also expected that KSA crown prince MbS, in all likelihood, will be granted immunity by the Trump administration for his alleged role in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
The Kingdom will, thereafter, be always at the service of the US, even after Joseph Biden accedes to office, to arm-twist Pakistan to succumb to Israel war tactics, in case, anything untoward happens to Israel, like if any of its fighter jets or a pilot gets grounded in Pakistan?
Once a war between India and Pakistan breaks out, KSA will also force Pakistan on the dictates of the US to abdicate its claim on Kashmir by holding at ransom Pakistan’s 1.6 million job visas.
The Israeli ambassador’s announcement that it would go to any extent to help India, therefore, is not confined to Pakistan alone but also is an extended warning to China as well, which means that now Israeli F-35 will be at India’s end to blunt the Chinese maneuvers.
Thus, the bone of contention for both India and the US, which is China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and its gateway Gilgit-Baltistan will be the first to be windswept by the coordinated onslaught of the US which will support India in equal numbers.
After BECA, the US aircraft carrier Nimitz will also help India and it is now to be seen as to how Russia will enter into the fray to equalize with the US as China is quite understandably allied with Pakistan to confront the impending war in the Himalayas with the new reality that Israel will also be with India on an equal footing.
The writer is a former State Information Commissioner, India. He is a media analyst and writes on international politics. Views expressed are his own.