Political Science Answer Writing Practice - Week 8 - Question 2
90 Days Political Science Answer Writing Practice Question 2 for 22-Jan-2018
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22-Jan-2018 - Question 2
Discuss the foreign policy initiatives taken by India to balance its relations between Israel and the Arab world. 250 words. 2015
Amid the turmoil of the Middle East, India has conventionally adhered to a policy of equivalence in dealing with Israel and neighbouring Arab countries. Israel is a major defence and strategic partner for India while Arab state are leading trade partners, mainly fulfilling India s energy needs and serving as a destination for India s food exports. To maintain a friendly relationship with both sides, India prefers to avoid the Arab-Israeli conflict and advocates a dialogue-driven, peaceful, two-state solution.
Delhi s interests in Israel have grown rapidly in the last quarter of a century. So have those with the 400 million Arabs. The Arab Middle East is the main source of India s energy, the home to nearly seven million expatriate workers, and a big market for Indian goods. As we look to India s growing stakes in the Middle East, Delhi s problem is not about fidelity to one domestic ideological position or the other.
C Raja Mohan therefore, argues that the challenge for India lies in finding the right balance between competing imperatives in a volatile region amidst the pursuit of enlightened self-interest. The Israelis and Arabs alike have a strong tradition of realpolitik. They might be happier with an open, predictable and interest-based Indian policy towards the region than the one trapped in political posturing for domestic audiences. Israeli and Arab leaders also, view India from the perspective of regional balance, rather than an ideological framework. India s exceptional political warmth certainly does not beget uncritical Israeli support for India in its territorial disputes with Pakistan or China. Similarly, the Arab nations don t back India on Kashmir, just because India extends formal solidarity with the Palestinians. Like all nations, Israelis and Arabs want to maximise possibilities with India but would want to limit its impact on the relations with Pakistan.
India s volume of trade with Arab countries stands at $121 billion, which includes $50 billion in exports and imports of $71 billion. That constitutes around 18.25 percent of India s total trade while India s trade with Israel, at $5 billion, accounts for less than one percent of total trade. As per the latest SIPRI release for 2016, India s arms trade with Israel has increased 117 percent, from $276 million in 2015 to $599 million in 2016. India imports 48 percent of Israel s total arms exports. Russia is still the largest exporter of arms to India, contributing 62 percent of total imports, but Israel has emerged as the second largest at 24 percent. Nicholas Blarel in her work "Evolution of India's Israel Policy: Continuity, Change and Compromise since 1992" says that New Delhi no longer sees the India-Israel relationship in a zero-sum manner.
The pursuit of balance is an essential feature of international life; how it gets expressed or couched in a specific context is a matter of diplomatic detail. Israel s dispute with Palestine is not the only one that India confronts in the Middle East. Delhi, for example, is constantly trying to balance between Israel and Iran, Riyadh and Tehran, the Sunni and Shia, Saudis and Qataris, and between the Kurds and everyone else. The Middle East long ceased to be defined by the Arab-Israeli conflict. There are new faultlines and raging conflicts and the new partnership is about surviving the coming storms.