India's relationship with Israel has been one of the most sensitive and controversial issues in New Delhi's diplomatic history. India first decided to recognize Israel in 1950 but deliberately deferred the establishment of diplomatic relations. Then, in January 1992, New Delhi abruptly modified its no-relationship policy and exchanged diplomatic missions with Tel Aviv. In the spate of only two decades, the two countries have developed significant economic and especially defense relations. Why did India only decide to establish diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992? And how have Indo-Israeli relations moved from almost naught to a rapid and substantial development in certain sensitive sectors like defense cooperation in only a few years?
Breaking with conventional wisdom, this book looks at how India's Israel policy was actually contested from the start and evolved over time to adapt to new domestic and international circumstances and interests. The rationale for engaging Israel did not suddenly emerge in 1992 but was in fact the result of long-term debates within the Indian polity. This book offers a new historical perspective to understand the formation and evolution of India's Israel policy since the pre-Independence period.