In Looking to the West, India Is Increasingly Looking toward Israel

Two countries with vast differences but also many important similarities, India and Israel have been growing closer since the beginning of the century. Jonathan Spyer explains how New Delhi and Jerusalem are at present moving from a relationship based on military and civilian trade to a broader strategic alliance, which will ultimately benefit the U.S. as well:

India is now the largest consumer of Israeli military equipment—exports to India constitute 46 percent of Israel’s total arms exports. Israel, meanwhile, is the second-largest supplier of military equipment to India after Russia, New Delhi’s traditional arms provider.

Burgeoning India-Israel relations are not limited to defense spending. In agriculture and water management, Indian authorities have partnered with Mashav, Israel’s international development organization, to [find] methods to cope with an emergent water crisis. The purpose is to create structures for the rapid transfer of Israeli know-how in such crucial fields as drip irrigation, protected cultivation, and “fertigation” (the injection of fertilizers and water-soluble products into an irrigation system) to Indian farmers. The acquisition by the Adani group of Haifa port in 2022 is perhaps the most significant recent development in the commercial field.

India and Israel face a common challenge with other Western-aligned states as the U.S., the leader of the democratic world, is recalibrating and reducing its external commitments. . . . Indeed, it is within the overarching picture of India’s strategic transition from a non-aligned country to a U.S. ally, in the face of Chinese ambitions, that India’s improved relations with Israel [should] be seen.

Indian participation alongside Israel, for example, in the biennial Blue Flag air exercise in 2021 alongside U.S. and other Western air forces, is both an indication of the growing strategic relationship between Israel and India and of India’s broader strategy of “looking West,” and increasing cooperation with the U.S.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: India, Israel-India relations, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy