Israeli President Ezer Weizman is welcomed by Indian Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and Indian President Shankar Dayal Sharma 30 December at Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace) 30 December in New Delhi. Weizman arrived in India the previous day on the first official visit by an Israeli head of state.
On a recent visit to Israel, Indian Home Minister LK Advani's struck a deal with the Israelis that would make India its partner in threatening the Muslim world. The details of his meetings with Israel's administration, particularly the heads of the Israeli Home Ministry and its intelligence agencies, Mossad and Sabak, reveal that the arrangements he has made for joint Indo-Israel espionage operations in key areas of the Muslim world would make the Indian embassies in these Muslim countries the eyes and ears of the worldwide Israeli spy network.
Under the euphemism of "counter-terrorism", India is allowing Israel to establish a large spy establishment in India which would monitor Islamic activists and groups.
During his three-day visit, Advani also met Israeli police chief Yehuda Wilk and with military officials who oversee Israel's espionage operations against Arabs in Israel, Palestine and neighboring states such as Lebanon and Syria. Senior officials from the Israeli Foreign Office and the defense and home ministries attended this meeting.
Representing India at the meeting was the Director of the Intelligence Bureau, Shayamal Dutta, the Director of the CBI, RK Raghvan, the head of the Indian BSF, EM Ram Mohan, Indian Home Ministry's powerful Secretary K Pande who oversees the work of the infamous Indian spy agency, RAW, and liaises with the Indian Foreign Office in respect of undercover RAW agents working in Indian embassies abroad, and a senior officer of India's military intelligence agency. In this top-level meeting in Tel Aviv, Advani reportedly thanked the Israeli government for its immense help to India in security matters and spoke of the dangers India and Israel face from their common enemies, their Muslim neighbors.
Advani highly praised the help provided by Mossad and army commando personnel to the Indian army in the war on "Muslim militants" in Kashmir and against "Muslim terrorists" such as the "Memon brothers" of Mumbai in Dubai. Advani said he had, throughout his political career, advocated India's friendship with Israel and that his party had played a key role in forcing Congress government to have full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992. Advani also explained at length India's security problems in which the danger from Pakistan and Indian Muslims getting Arab money loomed large. He reportedly gave a long list of the special services in spying and the anti-insurgency devices and spy equipment India urgently needs from Israel to combat "Muslim terrorism".
Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh (L) shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak during their meeting in Jerusalem 02 July 2000. Singh is on four-day official visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Advani, a bitter opponent of Pakistan, has advocated Akhand Baharat by incorporating into the Indian Union by force the Muslim states of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Since he took over the Home and Kashmir Affairs portfolios when the BJP came to power in India three years ago, he has used ruthless methods to suppress the Kashmiri freedom movement. He got Israeli advisers for planning counter-insurgency operations in Indian-held Jammu and Kashmir. Under him, India's intelligence agencies developed an on-going cooperative relationship with the Israeli intelligence agencies. In his grandiose designs of making India a superpower, the cooperation of Israel, seems far more important than the friendship of Muslims worldwide. Although the oil-rich Arab states are by far the biggest buyers of Indian goods and services, Advani considers the tiny Jewish state as the biggest asset for India. Advani believes he can enlist the support of the US Jewish lobby through Israel.
In the Tel Aviv meeting, Wilk, profusely praised India for its friendship with Israel and pledged help to the Indian government in combating "Muslim terrorism", especially in Jammu and Kashmir, and the new dangers coming up for India and Israel because of the Pakistani bomb and the fear that Pakistan may give its nuclear weapons to the Arabs.
The Indians reportedly gave the Israelis a long shopping list of spying, torture and surveillance equipment such as electronic fencing of sensitive sites, laser systems, short-range rockets, eagle-eyed long distance snipers, observation blimps, giant shields, night vision device, special protective dress and gear for security personnel, and cross border snooping devices. He also requested training and deployment of spies and the special gear for them, use of computers and Internet for espionage and disinformation.
The Israelis were interested in having access to the secret reports of Indian undercover RAW diplomats from certain Muslim countries of special interest to Israel, particularly Pakistan, Libya and Iran. India is apparently willing to grant access to Israeli agents to the Indian Home Ministry's Central Intelligence Processing Unit (CIPU) in New Delhi. This was recently set up under Advani's direction with Israeli and US help. A handpicked RAW officer, trusted by Advani, heads this unit. Israel wants full access to its information data, and the Indian government has already allowed access to it by American intelligence agencies now working with the Indian government on so-called anti-terrorist assignments.
Advani visited Israeli's northern border with Lebanon and discussed surveillance with military and Mossad officers there. He also visited the Israeli aircraft industries and saw the unmanned aerial vehicles being made there for border surveillance. Advani wants a dozen of these for Kashmir and the NEFA regions. He was specially shown some of the latest espionage gadgets, snooping devices and electronic border fencing methods.
It is now obvious that BJP-ruled India has made Israel its ally in its dealing with the Muslim world, especially Pakistan, and in seeking global hegemony for its Hindutva doctrine.
Pakistan's nuclear capability also came up in Advani's discussions with the Israelis. There has been covert cooperation between India and Israel in the nuclear field for many years. India has been prodding Israel to take action against Pakistan's nuclear installations by telling Tel Aviv that Pakistan would sell the bomb to anti-Israeli Arab nations.
Since India recognized Israel in 1992, political, economic and military relations between the two have been expanding rapidly. At that time, cash-short India desperately wanted $3 billion in aid from the World Bank, IMF and other US-dominated funding agencies. To mobilize the Jewish lobby in the USA in support of India for the loan arrangement and to please the USA, the Indian government suddenly decided to accord diplomatic recognition to Israel. A Muslim joint secretary in the Indian Foreign Office was kept in the dark by his Hindu bosses about the decision of the Indian government under Congress Prime Minister Narasimha Rao.
Advani briefed the Israeli officials on why India wants the US to declare Pakistan a terrorist state. He wanted the Israeli lobby in the US to join hands with the Indian lobby. Guiding the India lobby in the US now is the lucratively-paid ex-Congressman Stephen Solarz, who works closely with the Israeli lobby in the US, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). In June 1988, during a visit to the UN in New York for the UN General Assembly's special session on Disarmament, I saw him lead a delegation of Jewish leaders in the US to see the then Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi. The Jews' memorandum handed over to Rajiv Gandhi called for India's recognition of Israel and the establishment of Indo-Israel diplomatic ties. Besides US pressure, another reason for Prime Minister Narasimha Rao's recognition of Israel was the collapse of the USSR and the halt of Soviet arms supply to India. It was at that time that India voted with the US for rescinding a UN resolution that equated Zionism with racism.
India's weekly Asian Age, wrote that the Vajpayee government has shifted its focus from the Arab nations to Israel. Instead of sending Prime Minister Vajpayee to Syrian President Hafiz al Asad's funeral in June, India was represented by a junior cabinet minister, Murli Manohar Joshi. The Asian Age commented that Israel had signed lucrative agreements with the Indian army, navy and air force; Israel is upgrading India's MiG-21 aircraft and the ageing Jaguars. India is modernizing the electronic system of its aircraft carrier INS Virat, and Israel is upgrading the Indian Army's 130mm artillery guns to 155mm, and has sold 40,000 rounds of 155mm shells to the Indian army together with radar systems.
Commenting on the respect and power Israel now commands in the Indian government, the Asian Age noted that the doors of the Indian Foreign Office have been thrown open to Israeli diplomats and military personnel who visit regularly.
"Delhi, which had tread delicately earlier for fear of offending the Arab nations who control a large percentage of India's oil supply, has shed all such reservations now to openly embrace and make common cause with Israel," reported the Asian publication.
It is now obvious that BJP-ruled India has made Israel its ally in its dealing with the Muslim world, especially Pakistan, and in seeking global hegemony for its Hindutva doctrine. Three million Israeli Jews are now far more important to India's Hindu rulers than 1.4 billion Muslims and 54 Muslim-majority states in the world. This is the signal stemming from Indian Home Minister Advani's visit to Israel.
Qutubuddin Aziz is a former minister at the Pakistan Embassy in London.