User:XiManLiPra/NaturalAlly vs Strateic Partner

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Ravi Ranjan asked: What is the difference between natural ally and strategic partner?

S. Kalyanaraman replies: Natural allies are normally 'birds of the same feather', while strategic partners are often ‘strange bedfellows’. Natural allies (think of America and Britain during the Second World War) share common political and cultural values—they may believe in democracy or authoritarianism; they may uphold liberal capitalism or socialism or state corporatism; they may share common historical and cultural traditions; their societal values may be more or less similar; they may practice the same religion; and so on.

Strategic partners (think of America and the Soviet Union during the Second World War) may share none of these similarities. Notwithstanding this difference, what makes two countries either natural allies or strategic partners is the common security challenge that they both face at a particular juncture in history and more importantly their decision to come together and pool their resources to deal with this challenge (think of America, Britain and the Soviet Union coming together to deal with the Fascist challenge during the Second World War).


S. Samuel C. Rajiv replies: India and Israel are ‘strategic partners’ rather than ‘natural allies’, though the former term is conspicuously absent in official pronouncements, especially that of India. The term one hears more often is that of ‘valuable’ partner. Strategic complementarities bring the two countries together. These include Israel’s world-class arms industry dependent on exports for maintaining its commercial and technological edge, Israeli expertise in such niche technology areas like radars and UAV’s and India's requirements for such surveillance technology. India’s defence modernisation needs coupled with short-comings in its domestic defence industrial base (inability to develop AWACS for instance led it to source Israeli Phalcons), as well as Israel’s willingness to supply sophisticated equipments, are equally pertinent.

People-to-people contacts are no doubt robust, as evident in growing numbers of tourists visiting either country. Historically, there have been no significant instances of anti-Semitism in India. Some of the threats both the countries face are similar in nature (Islamic extremism), though from different sources. Despite such similarities, however, some significant structural and policy differences do exist. While Israel is a Jewish democratic state, India is a secular democratic republic. Both countries have significant policy differences over issues like the Palestinians and the Iranian nuclear imbroglio.