India or China: Whom Did Israel Support During The Intense India-China Border Standoff?

India-China standoff was a test of allies like Israel, Russia and the Middle-East nations. India signed massive defence deals with Russia to ensure Moscow stays on the Indian side, but whom did Israel support in the bloody battle between India and China?

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The tensions between India and China in the Galwan valley to a savagery clash between the troops of two neighbouring countries on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), leaving 20 Indian troops dead and an unknown number of Chinese casualties.

However, both the sides have now agreed to disengage on the LAC by holding diplomatic and military talks. Amid such turbulent India-China relations, what was the position of staunch Indian allies like Israel?

Israel maintains strong ties with both India and China. The relationship shared between India and Israel stems from a strong defence and technology trade. According to Seth J. Frantzman, writing for The Jerusalem Post, Israel has a strategic partnership with India, and Israel has been pressured in recent years by the US to reduce its warming relations with China.

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“India and China are key countries, and Israel wants a growing strategic partnership with India and amicable relations with China. The recent tensions inevitably raise the question of how they might impact Jerusalem,” he wrote

India and Israel have more in common besides the trade and commerce relationship. India’s strong ties with South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Gulf states like UAE and Saudi Arabia contribute to relations with Israel as it stands as an ally with all these nations as well.

Also, India’s critical stand against jihadist extremist and militant groups that have used terrorism against India is in line with Isreal’s stand on it since Israel is also targetted by these same groups.

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However, Israel’s ties with China has been a concern for the US. Israel and the US share a stronger and long-standing bond since the 1960s. “China is a constant US concern taken up with its allies, brought up at numerous meetings and always on the agenda. It appears on the agenda in disproportion to the actual reality of Israel’s relations with China,” wrote Frantzman.

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Chinese companies in Israel are working on deals reaching a value of $20 billion. With the US waging a trade war with China, it is pressurising its allies like the UK and Israel to cut ties in order to punish China for hiding news of the original outbreak of the virus and not taking enough steps to stop it from reaching the US. “They could have easily stopped the plague, but they didn’t!” State Secretary Mike Pompeo has said last month.

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“Israel’s government now includes two former chiefs of Staff – Gabi Ashkenazi and Benny Gantz – who more than others, understand the importance of Israel-US ties. China is an important trade partner for Israel and we hope it will remain that way but clearer lines need to be drawn and there is no better time to do so than the present,” said a senior State Department official.

On the other hand, Israel and India have continued to sign joint venture defence deals and collaborate with the ‘Make in India’ movement to manufacture defence equipment and systems in India. Israeli companies like Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, all have significant partnerships in India.

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“This is likely part of a future that will see greater Israel, India and US cooperation on defence technology and potentially strategic issues. At the same time, Israel will continue to have relations with Beijing and look keenly on China’s growing economic clout,” concluded Frantzman.