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Re-(Modi)fying India’s Israel Policy: An Exploration of Practical Geopolitical Reasoning Through Re-representation of ‘India’, ‘Israel’ and ‘West Asia’ Post-2014

Tanvi Pate

Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, 2020, vol. 7, issue 1, 7-35

Abstract: Abstract Narendra Modi became the first Prime Minister of India to undertake a stand-alone visit to Israel from 4 to 6 July 2017. Although India–Israel relations had been normalised in 1992, the nature of this bilateral relationship remained murky as India avoided any explicit recognition. However, with Modi’s visit, the policy of ‘equidistance’ or ‘de-hyphenation’ of ‘Israel’ and ‘Palestine’ was formally operationalised proclaiming that India’s relations with one country will have no impact on relations with the other. Conventional academic wisdom attributes causal determinants to Indian foreign policy vis-à -vis Israel as guided by international and domestic factors. This article contends that a constitutive approach to understanding India’s foreign policy towards Israel and the Middle East offers a viable alternative. Adopting Gearoid O Tuathail’s theoretical framework of practical geopolitical reasoning , this article critically explores the geopolitical representations of ‘India’, ‘Israel’, ‘Palestine’, ‘West Asia’, ‘South Asia’ and ‘Middle East’ in the National Democratic Alliance government’s foreign policy discourse through an analysis of ‘grammar of geopolitics’, ‘geopolitical storylines’ and ‘geopolitical script’. The article demonstrates that re-representation of ‘India’ as a ‘global actor’ and re-representation of ‘Israel’ as a country in ‘West Asia’ have enabled the Modi-led government to implement India–Israel bilateral partnership which underscores strategic cooperation in full visibility via overt normalisation.

Keywords: India; Israel; West Asia; critical geopolitics; representation; foreign policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1177/2347797020906647

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