Last year, MK Amnon Rubinstein led an Israeli parliamentary delegation on a visit to India. The delegation received an especially warm welcome, and there was much local interest. On their visit to Karla, in southern part of the subcontinent, ubinstein was the guest of the local television studio and was interviewed on Indian-Israeli relations. When the young interviewer asked why such a deep closeness, devoid of bad feeling, had developed between the countries, Rubinstein replied that the reason was bound up, among other things, with the fact that India is perhaps the only country where there have been no expressions of anti-Semitism toward the local Jewish community. The interviewer asked Rubinstein in all seriousness: "Excuse me sir, what is anti-Semitism?"
Rubinstein gaped astounded at his interviewer for a moment, then hugged him spontaneously, and declared that this was the most pleasing response that he could have wished for
. The interview made waves, and the national television station of New Delhi reported it. Rubinstein: "The impression that I gained on this visit is that apart from the United States, the warmth toward Israel on the part of India has no equal."
Relations between India and Israel were never better. This year, both countries marked the tenth anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between them. In this short period, Israel has become one of India's important arms suppliers, second only to Russia, and threatening to take its place. India has become Israel's largest defense export target. Until a few years ago, both countries pursued an extra-cautious policy on the public nature of their bilateral ties, but today Major General Uzi Dayan, until recently the head of the National Security Council [NSC], describes the link as "a special strategic relationship," a definition that includes not only military cooperation, but ideological and strategic closeness on matters connected with the world balance of forces
The closeness between the only democracies in the zone lying between
the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian subcontinent derives in large part from the fact that both face a perpetual threat from radical Islam. Reserves Colonel Dr. Eran Lerman, who until this year served in a senior position in Intelligence Branch, was drawn into a somewhat surrealistic situation when he delivered a lecture last year to a delegation from the Indian National Security Council, which also included senior Indian
Lerman: "I found myself defending the good name of Islam in civilization, and directing its problematic nature to modern aberrations of totalitarian Islamism. Facing me were the Indian generals, and they came out with a strong attack on Islam in general. It was very interesting. Imagine for yourself an IDF general defending Islam in the face of a very aggressive attack by a general from a foreign army. Definitely an absurd situation."