It’s a very safe bet that very few Americans know the history outlined here by Vijeta Uniyal writing at the Gatestone Institute:
For most Indians, it is hard not to feel a deep sense of historic gratitude towards Israel and the Jewish people. The State of Israel came to our military aid in just about every war India fought as an independent nation since 1947. Our elected leaders, in their vanity, polished their statesmanlike credentials denouncing Israel at every possible international gathering, even as they kept on turning to the Jewish State for help in times of dire need, whether civilian or military. From Golda Meir to Ariel Sharon, Israel never turned down any request.
Getting nothing in return, the tiny and beleaguered nation paid a price for its support for India. At times, adversely affecting its relations with China or annoying its most vital ally, the United States, by extending support to a “socialist” country at the height of the Cold War.
If there ever was a true sign of goodwill extended from one nation to another, Israel had shown it toward India and so many other nations, from Zaire to Haiti and elsewhere.
Despite this, it took India more than four decades just to treat Israel as an equal partner on the world stage — when India established full diplomatic relations with Israel in January 1991.
India, however, had one redeeming quality. Although our political leaders hitched their wagon to the Soviet Union and the Pan-Arab nationalism in the early days of the Cold War, the Hindus of India, who constitute an 80% majority of the country’s population, have been steadfast and consistent in their support for the State of Israel and the Jewish people. An international survey conducted by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2009 found Indians having the most favorable opinion of Israel, even ahead of U.S. respondents by a small margin. In August 2014, at the height of Gaza conflict, the city of Calcutta staged a 20,000-strong rally in support of the Jewish State, making it probably the largest pro-Israel rally that Asia ever witnessed.
Finally, with the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2014, the India’s official policies have begun to reflect the desires and aspirations of the majority Hindu population of the nation.
Read more: Gatestone Institute
Image credit: Gatestone Institute/Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York, on September 29, 2014/ source: Israel Government Press Office).