23 March: Plus ca change, plus ca reste la meme chose? Evaluating change and continuity in Modi's policy towards Israel
Modern South Asia Seminar by Dr. Nicolas Blarel, Assistant Professor, International Relations, Institute of Political Science, Leiden University.
17.00 - 19.00 hrs
Since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India, many observers announced a realignment of India’s foreign policy priorities and goals. An illustration of this foreign policy reorientation is the public broadcasting of the burgeoning strategic partnership with Israel. In June 2015, it was announced that Modi would become the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. India then abstained on a UNHRC resolution that condemned Israel, thereby indicating it was open to changing its traditional voting pattern in favor of Palestine. Coincidentally, there were similar comments emphasizing an Indo-Israeli rapprochement during the last BJP-led government (1998-2004). This had led some scholars to emphasize the role of Hindu Nationalism in favoring the rapprochement with Israel. Others have emphasized that the roots of Modi’s new approach towards Israel can be traced back to his tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat when he directly negotiated with Tel Aviv on agricultural cooperation. However, Modi has still not visited Israel and has instead been to other Middle-Eastern capitals (UAE, Saudi-Arabia). In spite of a personal willingness to further develop bilateral ties, why has Modi not been able to visit Tel Aviv? What are the historical factors and determinants of India's Israel policy?
Nicolas Blarel is an assistant professor of International Relations at the Institute of Political Science. He studies foreign policy issues, with a focus on security issues in South Asia.
His current research focuses on why rising powers choose to redefine their strategic objectives and means. Nicolas also studies India’s relations with the Middle-East .His book on The Evolution of India's Israel Policy: Continuity, Change, and Compromise since 1922 was published in 2015 at Oxford University Press.
Nicolas has worked for the French Foreign Ministry’s policy planning staff (the Centre d’Analyses et de Prévisions) on questions related to Afghanistan, South Asia, and nuclear proliferation. Nicolas has been a visiting fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in New Delhi. He was also editorial assistant at the peer-reviewed academic journal, International Studies Quarterly. Before coming to Leiden, Nicolas studied at l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Strasbourg, Sciences Po Paris, and Indiana University.