Late last week, Israeli Prime Benyamin Netanyahu returned from India following a several day visit. Described as a “historical visit”, this was the second time an Israeli prime minister visited India. The first was made by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2003. Netanyahu’s visit marked the 25th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between both countries.
On his visit, Netanyahu was accompanied by a delegation of almost 130 key Israeli businesspeople of various Israeli companies. These included military industries, water, energy, agriculture, health, food processing, and internet businesses. Representatives of drone maker Aeronautics Ltd. were also in the delegation.
According to media reports, the visit resulted in a number of significant business agreements between Israel and India. Most notably, arms sales deals, worth several billions of dollars, were made with India.
In light of this visit, the Israeli right wing Mida website released a report on 15 January: Not India Only: Relations between Israel and Azerbaijan are Blooming Too. According to Mida, the State of Israel enjoys an increasingly developing international status. For the future and security of Israel, one of the most important processes lies in maintaining efforts to build new alliances on grounds of common interests and values around the world in general, and in the Middle East in particular.
As Mida puts it, an “important friendly state” in the Middle East is the “Shiite Islamic” state of Azerbaijan. Over the past few years, relations with Azerbaijan have prospered at an unprecedented pace. Azerbaijan supplies Israel with a large portion of oil consumption (Azerbaijan ranks the 20th in oil reserves worldwide). It also offers significant and valuable assistance to Israeli intelligence services in espionage efforts against Iran and other various military targets.
Although Azerbaijan officially declares that “it attempts to strive to observe neutrality and to cooperate with Russia and USA, as well as with Iran and Israel”, and in spite of many visits made by senior Israeli political and military officials to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, “these relations were kept on the back burner for a long time!” However, according to the Mida report, “the largest number of Israelis need to be introduced to this very important republic in the Israeli international relations.”
The report presents some key information about Azerbaijan: “Situated to the north border of Iran, its location was the reason that parts of the country were under control of Persia for a long time.” Before it gained independence in 1991, others parts of Azerbaijan had been controlled by Russia, then by the former Soviet Union. The report also refers to the ongoing violent conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno Karabakh region.