No meeting between Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Benjamin Netanyahu in the Israeli PM’s itinerary

The Indian National Congress has always had a lukewarm relationship with Israel. One could put it on domestic vote bank politics or international pressures that during all the years of the Congress governments, the relationship between the two countries had not blossomed. It is only the under the Prime Ministerial tenure of Narendra Modi that India has finally warmed up to the sole democracy in the Middle East.

However, as the friendship between India and Israel is blooming in every respect, not every party in the political spectrum of Indian politics is enthusiastic about the India’s new friend. The Left Parties organized a protest against the Prime Minister of Israel on Monday in New Delhi which was attended by D Raja himself.

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However, conspicuous was the absence of a meeting between the Congress President, Rahul Gandhi and Benjamin Netanyahu in the Israeli PM’s itinerary. The lack of convergence between the two dominant national political parties in the country on issues of foreign policy reflects poorly on the whole nation itself. It is pertinent to mention that the mother of the Congress President himself and ex-President of the Congress Party did pay the then Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon a courtesy call when the former visited India in 2003, during Vajpayee’s Prime Ministership. That is in stark contrast with the current leadership of the Congress which chooses to mock and play down Benjamin Netanyahu’s diplomatic visit to India.

The blossoming relationship between India and Israel has been one of the highlights of Narendra Modi’s foreign policy, and that the President of the Congress chooses to deride such a remarkable accomplishment for merely partisan politics is a sign that the 47-year old ‘Youth leader’ is yet to mature. And that immaturity is obvious from his antics on Social Media. The ‘Hugplomacy‘ video that was tweeted by the official handle of the Indian National Congress invited much criticism and flak from all sensible corners of the political spectrum. The video also presented the BJP with an easy opportunity to score another victory over its rivals on Social Media.

The less than warm response towards Israel by the dominant opposition party in India puts the future of Indo-Israel relations in some jeopardy. There has been a general feeling that the two countries have developed such a close relationship only due to an NDA government at the Center and should the Congress return to power in 2019, India will no longer be as much of a friend to Israel due to the Congress’s general Pro-Palestinian slant. A relationship as crucial as India and Israel’s should not depend on which political party is in power. It is not too much to expect that the opposition party be supportive of the central government’s foreign policy, especially when Indo-Israel ties provides both countries with great scope for a fruitful and fulfilling relationship. However, as their recent social media activity has shown, Rahul Gandhi is yet to mature as the President of the Indian National Congress.

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