In the wake of the US withdrawal from Syria, the State of Israel is more vulnerable with Iran, Assad, Erdogan and other radical Islamist groups gaining increased influence in neighboring Syria.  The only buffer standing between these forces of darkness and the State of Israel is the Golan Heights.  Dr. Ephraim Inbar, writing for the Jerusalem Institute for Security and Strategy, emphasized, “The Golan Heights is Israel’s best northern defense, especially since Iranian forces have moved into Syria.  Israel’s control over the Golan Heights increases the country’s ability to prevent Iran from establishing an additional front against the Jewish state in Southern Syria that would link to the front Iran has established in South Lebanon via its proxy, Hezbollah.”

While America’s recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights greatly enhanced our national security, this national security boost can be further advanced if other important countries followed in America’s footsteps.  In the wake of this development, it is more crucial than ever that as many countries as possible recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, so that our security needs can receive international recognition.  In order to do that, we should arrange a deal with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that India will recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights in exchange for Israel recognizing India’s right to Kashmir.

India is a very important country.  Aside from being the second largest country on planet earth, India is the world’s largest democracy.  Furthermore, India is part of the Non-Aligned Movement and therefore holds a lot of sway in a number of other countries, who could potentially follow in India’s footsteps as the Non-Aligned Movement represents 55% of the global population.   Therefore, Indian recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights would be a major diplomatic accomplishment for the State of Israel.  Furthermore, in the wake of China’s vocal opposition to India starting the process of integrating Kashmir into India, now is the time to sway Modi to be in favor of such a deal.  At this time, he could very much utilize diplomatic support over the Kashmir issue and thus could reward Israel well in return.

India has a just claim to the Kashmir region.  According to the Indian Independence Act of 1947, which was promulgated by the British, “the territories of India shall be the territories under the sovereignty of His Majesty which immediately before the appointed day were included in British India except the territories which under subsection 2 of this section are to be the territories of Pakistan.”  The British declared that Pakistan was to include East and West Punjab as well as Sindh and British Balochistan.  However, neither the Indian Independence Act of 1947 nor the Radcliffe Commission which determined the future borders of India and Pakistan pertained to the over 560 princely states, which were under the rule of Indian princes and constituted 41 percent of the territory of the subcontinent.   They never declared that Kashmir, which was one of these princely states, belonged to Pakistan.

In fact, the sovereign of Kashmir at the time Maharaja Hari Singh wanted Kashmir to remain independent because he was a Hindu ruling over a predominantly Muslim population.  However, when Pakistani mujahedeen sought to seize Kashmir by force, Maharaja was forced to seek Indian support in order to defend his nation and the Indians agreed on the condition that the territory would be incorporated into India.   Shipan Kumer Basu, the President of the World Hindu Struggle Committee, proclaimed: “Since then, Kashmir has been known as an Indian state.”  However, the Indians passed Article 370 in order to ensure that the territory maintained a special status unique from India, so that India would only impose legislation related to “defense, external affairs and communication.” This enabled Kashmir to maintain an independent flag and a separate constitution.

However, there were problems with the implementation of Article 370.  For starters, the legislation was only supposed to be temporary and yet it lasted until August 5 of this part year.  As Professor Christine Fair of the Lawfare Project noted, “An additional provision, commonly referred to as 35A, restricted land purchases in Kashmir only to those who are considered Kashmiri citizens. Women who married men not from Kashmir lost this privilege, as did their children. Men who married women outside of the region did not lose their privileges. Many argue that 35 A, by preventing outside investments in the state, precluded economic development.”  In fact, Basu claimed that not only could citizens of other states not purchase land in Kashmir but they could not work there as well.  This is why India took the step of changing this piece of legislation.

Given that polls indicate that more Kashmiris want to be part of India than Pakistan, Modi’s move was only natural.  This is especially the case if one takes the plight of the Hindu Pandits under consideration.  According to Basu, the Hindu Pandits are Hindus native to Kashmir that were murdered and raped by Muslim mujahedeen after 70 Islamists were released from prison by Faruk Abdullah, chief minister of Kashmir: “Thousands of Hindu Pandits were killed by extremist Muslims in Kashmir in 1989-1990.”  In fact, Basu noted that some of these mujahedeen were so brutal to the Hindu Pundits that they broke their genitals. He claimed that by removing Article 370, Modi ensured that the Hindu Pandits will never again fall victim to Muslim mujahedeen in Kashmir, who seek to expel them from the area.   Thus, he called upon the State of Israel to support India in its reclamation of Kashmir and he believes there is a chance that India could in return recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

 

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Rachel Avraham is the President of the Dona Gracia Mendes Nasi Center for Human Rights in Middle East (under formation) and is a political analyst at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights, which is run by Mendi Safadi, Israeli Communication Minister Ayoob Kara's former chief of staff. In addition, she is a counter-terror analyst at the Islamic Theology on Counter-Terrorism, a think tank run by British Pakistani dissident Noor Dahri. For over 6 years, she is a Middle East based journalist, covering radical Islam, terrorism, human rights abuses in the Muslim world, minority rights abuses in the Muslim world, women's rights issues in the Muslim world, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Jewish Diaspora, anti-Semitism, international affairs and other issues of importance. Avraham is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media," a ground breaking book that was endorsed by former Israel Consul General Dr. Yitzchak Ben Gad and Israeli Communications Minister Ayoob Kara.