Modi Envisions Resurrected Non-Aligned Group Powered by Indian-Israeli Bond, Gulf Wealth

The sky’s the limit for Indian-Israeli ties, Narendra Modi told reporters when asked about his plans as the first Indian prime minister to pay an official visit to Israel. He did not elaborate. Modi received an exceptionally warm and affectionate welcome throughout his three-day visit (July 4-6). It began shortly before the biggest aircraft carrier in the world, the USS George H.W. Bush, sailed out of Israeli waters after a four-day call.
These frequent high-powered comings and goings are not taken for granted by a country long cold-shouldered as too small, too isolated and too beleaguered to matter
Modi’s hosts therefore were all the more appreciative of his decision to miss out on the regulation side-trip to see Palestinian leaders, which world leaders visiting Jerusalem feel obliged to make, including most recently the US president. The Indian prime minister chose to demonstrate his unqualified friendship and admiration for sovereign Israel by skipping Ramallah, Bethlehem and any other venue for a date with Mahmoud Abbas.
Indian friendship for Israel had finally come out of the closet, said some commentators. Today, there are no bars to showcasing the flowering of exceptionally wide and deep defense relations (1bn p.a.) and trade ties between the two countries.
But Prime Minister Modi also brought with him to Israel a new groundbreaking plan.
DEBKA Weekly’s exclusive sources can reveal that he is preparing to resurrect the Non-Aligned Movement that challenged the great Cold War powers in the 1960s, as a vehicle for endowing the bilateral ties with a new strategic dimension.
The prototype was established at a summit in Belgrade in 1961, by the long-departed Nehru, Tito and Castro for nations newly emergent from colonial rule, and was by and large hostile to the fledgling Jewish state.
Since a “third way” was always part of the Indian worldview, it is not surprising to find Modi drawn to the concept of the Non-Aligned Movement’s central mission, which was to help its members stand on their own feet and reduce their dependence on the big powers, the US, Russia and China.
The difference now is that, unlike his predecessors, Modi seeks to harness Israel to his new initiative, and build the resurgent movement around the strong core of Indian-Israeli military might and Arab Gulf wealth.
India may dwarf Israel in size, but they share the same values as vibrant democracies – as well as their nuclear arsenals, which are stocked with planes and missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.
The Indian prime minister envisions a nuclear-armed Indian-Sunni Muslim-Israeli bloc in Asia capable of countering the nuclear-armed bloc of Pakistan, China and inevitably Iran. Collective mechanisms would improve security against common contemporary threats like terrorism and belligerent rogue nations.
The details of Israel’s nuclear capabilities have never been leaked. This is a great asset in a partner. So too is Israel’s advanced cyber technology. The two countries are also working together on developing long-range ballistic missiles, conducting tests from launch bases in India.
New Delhi first eyed Israeli weaponry as far back as 1971, when Indira Ghandi asked Golda Meir to provide Indian with Israeli weapons for its war with Pakistan. They were supplied in secrecy. The deal between Asia’s first two female prime ministers had to go through Liechtenstein after Ghandi spurned Meir’s request for recognition and diplomatic relations.
From before diplomatic ties were finally established 25 years ago and since, the defense bond has been remained stable and increasingly integral. Israel doesn’t just sell India advanced weapons in straight business transactions; its military industries develop special systems that are tailor-made for the Indian army, air force and navy. Arms factories established in India are turning out components according to Israeli production guidelines.
Indeed it is becoming hard to imagine how Israel’s aerospace, electronic and military industries would look today without this close partnership with India. And a great number of additional combined defense projects are still closely-kept secrets and may never see the light of day.

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