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August 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.  Happy Diwali to all our subscribers and Distributors       August 2017 Edition of Power Politics is updated.   Happy Diwali to all our subscribers and Distributors       
Issue:August' 2017


Glossing over radical Islamist terror

Jagdish N Singh

Terror strike on Amarnath pilgrims Iwonder how long New Delhi will remain in the denial mode on the threat of radical Islamist terrorism to humanity . This evil has grown in India ever since our Independence. It has claimed lakhs of human lives across the nation. Radical Islamist terrorism has been the life-blood of the ongoing militancy in Kashmir. Its main target has been minorities Hindus and Sikhs in the Valley.
Sadly, radical Islamist terror has of late started appealing elements in the Valley's local population too. In the past one year alone, at least 11 youth from Srinagar have reportedly turned to militancy. Civil society is in a bad shape. Last month none came to save a deputy superintendent of police when he was being lynched in Srinagar. Yet New Delhi has continued to stick to its old thesis claiming radical Islamism poses little threat to India and it is being effectively neutralized . In the wake of terror strike killing eight Amarnath pilgrims last month, a Union Minister said, "India is in the last phase of militancy. "
New Delhi is still harping on evolving some international consensus to combat Islamist terrorism. Addressing the G20 summit in Hamburg last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and the Haqqani network were active in South Asia while Daesh (IS) and al- Qaeda were so in the Middle East and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Prime Minister Modi said all of them shared the same ideology to spread hatred and violence. He lamented some nations " are using terrorism for achieving political goals." He suggested more cooperation was needed to fight the menace.
Also, New Delhi has continued stressing to work with the world's leading democracies to combat the evil. During his visit to Washington ( June 26, 2017) Prime Minister Modi promised to fight harder against the "scourges" of " terrorism, extremism, and radicalization" by "doing away with the safe shelters, sanctuaries, and safe havens" of terrorists and enhancing intelligence sharing. Prime Minister Modi, together with American President Donald Trump, called on Islamabad to ensure not using its territory to launch terrorist attacks on other countries and "to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai, Pathankot, and other cross-border terrorist attacks perpetrated by Pakistan-based groups."
I am afraid New Delhi's approach to combating Islamist terrorism continues to be absolutely fallacious. Experience is the international community has been too divided to take on the evil. Most of the states in the world today publicly back India's old initiative for a U.N. Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. But they have hardly been serious about it. They themselves are too disrespectful to human rights at home to take on the evil in question.
Most of the world's leading democracies have never taken Indiaspecific terrorists seriously. They seem to think the terrorists against India are no threat to them and can be managed differently .
Recently, the U.S. State Department declared Hizb-ul-Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin a Designated Global Terrorist. But Washington continues to be far from reining in Islamabad , one of the worst exporters of terrorism to India. Islamabad continues to back militancy in India's Kashmir. It still describes militancy in Kashmir a "freedom movement." Yet Washington has recently sanctioned to Islamabad another tranche of reimbursement under the pretext of fighting terror in Afghanistan. Will New Delhi have a policy rooted in realities to combat Islamist terror ?

Ties soaring

Swami Vivekanand Relations between India and Israel can be described as those between "two souls." India has been in close contact with the Israelites ever since they arrived in South India the very year their Holy Temple was destroyed by the Roman tyranny. ( See Swami Vivekanand's address at the Congress of Religions, Chicago, 1893). The image of India in Israel has been one of "a place to rest." The Israelis have never forgotten the Indian soldiers laid down their lives protecting the Israeli city of Haifa during World War I from the Ottoman Empire forces. After India and Israel emerged as independent nations in the forties, the leaders of the two nations appreciated each other's core interests well . India voted against the partition of Palestine in 1947 and against its induction as a United Nations member. But New Delhi recognized the Jewish nation as early as on September 17, 1950. It permitted Israel to open a consulate in Bombay. During the 1962 India-China war , Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion wrote to then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru expressing Israel's "fullest sympathy and understanding" and provided weapons to the Indian forces. Israel helped India also in its war against Pakistan in 1965 and 1971.

Jawaharlal Nehru and David Ben Gurion, first Prime Ministers of India and Israel In January 1992 former Indian Prime Minister P V Narsimha Rao established full diplomatic ties with the Jewish nation. Since then, ties between New Delhi and Jerusalem in economic, technological, military and diplomatic spheres have moved from strength to strength. According to knowledgeable sources, today trade between the two stands at $5 billion. India is Israel's second largest Asian trading partner after China. Israel is India's second largest arms supplier after Russia. India's Ministry of External Affairs and Israel's Foreign Ministry hold annual consultations on counterterrorism in Jerusalem and New Delhi alternatively. In July 2003 Israeli lobbies worked to have an amendment to a bill in American Congress that was giving aid to Pakistan. The amendment called on Islamabad to stop Islamic militants from crossing into India. In 2008, Jewish support was important in passing through the US Congress the US-India nuclear deal, which allowed India access to nuclear technology for civilian use despite its not being a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Indo-Israeli cooperation on counterterrorism involves clandestine exchange of information on the finances, recruitment patterns, and training of terrorist groups. The outcome of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Israel last month can be described as a major step forward in continuity with Rao's Israel policy. During Modi's sojourn in the Jewish state, New Delhi and Jerusalem signed

Former Prime Minister P V Narsimha Rao seven agreements in the fields of water, agriculture and space, including a $40 million joint fund for research and development in innovation. Prime Minister Modi and his Israeli c o u n t e r p a r t Benjamin Netanyahu upgraded the current bilateral relationship to a "strategic partnership."
They agreed that "strong measures should be taken against terrorists, terror organisations, their networks and all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism, or provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups." They also stressed the need to "ensure that terrorist organisations do not get access to any WMD [weapon of mass destruction] or technologies."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Netanyahu called the India- Israel partnership a force for "good against bad." He said the India-Israel relationship today could be described as "I-square Tsquare"— that is "Indian Talent and Israeli Technology."
Three MoUs on space cooperation included those for Electric Propulsion for Small Satellites, the development of an optical link as well as cooperation on atomic clocks. The fund of research and development is called the "I4F" or India Israel Industrial Innovation Fund. Prime Minister Modi had a meeting with CEOs of various companies. This led to the signing of agreements worth about $4.3 billion between the participating companies .
The forum intends to take current bilateral trade of about $4-5 billion to $20 billion in five years . Hi-tech Israeli companies produce robotic non-water cleaners for solar panels and portable desalinisation units.
They can help India solve its water and energy crises .

Prime Minister Modi at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Indian and Israeli companies entered into agreements to bid jointly for defence contracts for the Indian military and locally build the systems under "Make in India". Besides, India and Israel agreed to increase their air linkages , with Air India expected to commence flights to Tel Aviv. The sources say Indo-Israel ties are likely to grow further under the government of Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi. Prime Minister Modi is well aware of the importance of Israel for India and the world today. He has dehyphenated India's ties with Israel and Palestine. During his Israel sojourn , Prime Minister Modi struck a very powerful equation with Israeli leaders. He did things the latter must have wished . He visited Yad Vashem Memorial . He visited the grave of the legendary Binyamin Ze'ev (Theodor) Herzl, Austro- Hungarian journalist, playwright, political activist and writer. Herzl was one of the fathers of the modern political Zionism, a movement to establish a Jewish homeland. Prime Minister Modi held official meetings not in Tel Aviv but at Jerusalem's King David hotel.