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Plus ca change, plus ca reste la meme chose? Evaluating change and continuity in Modi's policy towards Israel

Wednesday 23 March 2016
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Conference Room

A Modern South Asia Seminar on change and continuity in Modi's policy towards Israel by Dr. Nicolas Blarel of the Institute of Political Science, Leiden University.

Since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India, many observers announced a realignment of India’s foreign policy priorities and goals. An illustration of this foreign policy reorientation is the public broadcasting of the burgeoning strategic partnership with Israel. In June 2015, it was announced that Modi would become the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. India then abstained on a UNHRC resolution that condemned Israel, thereby indicating it was open to changing its traditional voting pattern in favor of Palestine. Coincidentally, there were similar comments emphasizing an Indo-Israeli rapprochement during the last BJP-led government (1998-2004). This had led some scholars to emphasize the role of Hindu Nationalism in favoring the rapprochement with Israel. Others have emphasized that the roots of Modi’s new approach towards Israel can be traced back to his tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat when he directly negotiated with Tel Aviv on agricultural cooperation.

However, Modi has still not visited Israel and has instead been to other Middle-Eastern capitals (UAE, Saudi-Arabia). In spite of a personal willingness to further develop bilateral ties, why has Modi not been able to visit Tel Aviv? What are the historical factors and determinants of India's Israel policy?

Dr. Nicolas Blarel is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Institute of Political Science, Leiden University. He is the author of The Evolution of India’s Israel Policy: Continuity, Change, and Compromise since 1922 (Oxford University Press, 2015).


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