sraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Ne- tanyahumade a historic visit to India last week - only the second time an Is- raeli prime minister has come to the country. It followed Narendra Modi's momentous July 2017 visit to Israel, the first ever by an Indian prime minister. Israel and India were once ideological opponents; India did not recognize Israel for two years after its independence in 1948 and long viewed it with suspicion on the grounds that it was a religious ethnostate similar to Pak- istan. The ColdWar kept themdiplomatically estranged, and it wasn't until 1992 that they established full diplomatic relations. In the 26 years since, much has changed.Whereas ideological disagreements once seemed to keep the two countries at arm's length, they now find themselves in an ever-closer em- brace - and as last week's events made clear, policy disagreements will not be permitted to stand in the way. Nurtured by successive governments in both NewDelhi and Jerusalem, bilateral ties have grown rapidly, driven largely by a rapid expansion of defense ties. Israel has supplied India with critical military equipment, in- cluding airborne early warning and control systems, drones, and border security solu- tions. India is now one of the largest cus- tomers for the Israeli defense industry, with an estimated $1 billion in annual defense deals, according to reports. Indian policymakers tend to downplay the strategic aspects of the relationship.When- ever defense ministers are asked about Israeli defense ties in Parliament, the stock reply is that such information could not be revealed due to "national security considerations." But there was nothing coy about Ne- tanyahu's visit. The public display of warmth so evident during bothModi's and Netanyahu's visits highlights the massive stakes of the relation- ship in recent times. Israel continues to be a critical partner when it comes to fulfilling the modernization needs of India's armed forces - essential to tackle looming external and in- ternal threats. Israeli expertise spanning areas such as water, agriculture, and innova- tion is a perfect fit with India's massive devel- opmental agenda - and unlike the sensitivi- ties that surround defense cooperation, there is nothing to hide when it comes to agricul- ture. Israel's success in cultivating robust and lucrative ties with a major regional power- house like India has also been a feather in the cap of successive Israeli governments. Given its location in a region surrounded by adver- saries, Israel has invested efforts in develop- ing new relationships with emerging powers in Asia and beyond. Netanyahu often high- lights the fact that Israel has become an in- dispensable security and developmental partner for many countries worldwide. The countries also face a common enemy. The Israeli prime minister's trip to the Chabad House inMumbai (which was a tar- get of Pakistani militants in November 2008) starkly reaffirmed the dangers posed to both countries by radical Islamists. The joint state- ment issued by the two governments on Jan. 15 advocated "strong measures against ter- rorists, terror organizations, those who spon- sor, encourage or finance terrorismor provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups." But all of this bilateral bonhomie has ob- scured significant policy differences on some of the most contentious issues in the region. Netanyahu has expressed serious concerns about the efficacy of the July 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Even prior to the negotiation of that deal, he has been a robust advocate of military strikes on Iran. The IndianMinistry of External Affairs opposed that approach and instead lent its support to diplomatic ne- gotiations to address concerns emanating from Iran's nuclear program. Indeed, at the height of the Iranian nuclear imbroglio, India's oil imports and economic and de- fense cooperation with Iran were issues of major concern to Israeli ministers as well as Jewish-American advocacy groups. Today, Netanyahu's policy prescriptions vis-à-vis Iran continue to run counter to India's economic and diplomatic priorities. His "fix it or nix it" strategy toward the Iran deal will not be acceptable to the Modi gov- ernment, whose foremost concern is stability in India's proximate neighborhood - home to millions of members of the Indian diaspora. India's dependence onWest Asian energy sources is all too obvious; for instance, India imported over $9 billion worth of Iranian oil during the 2016-2017 fiscal year, more than twice the amount imported the year before. Iran is also an important conduit for In- dian development aid to Afghanistan. The re- cent shipment of Indian wheat to that country via the Iranian port of Chabahar demonstrates the critical role Iran plays in India's regional priorities. India's deputy for- eignminister, M.J. Akbar, recently referred to Pakistan as the "largest wall in history," for blocking the transit of Indian goods to Afghanistan. It's no surprise, then, that just a few days prior to Netanyahu's visit, the Iran- ian transport minister was in India to sign deals worth $2 billion for the development of railways in Iran to enhance connectivity to Chabahar. Inmany other situations, fundamental disagreements about a nation that one party sees as a sworn enemy might threaten to harmbilateral ties. After all, Netanyahu does not lose any opportunity in interactions with world leaders and on international platforms to paint the clerical "cult" ruling Tehran as dangerous for regional peace and stability. Yet with India and Israel, disagreements on Iran have not interrupted their increasingly close embrace. Netanyahu did not bring up the Iranian threat in remarks at his joint press confer- ence withModi. -F OREIGN P OLICY News India Times February 2, 2018 2 Opinion I Published weekly, Founded in 1975.The views expressed on the opinion pages are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of News IndiaTimes. Copyright © 2017, News IndiaTimes News IndiaTimes (ISSN 0199-901X) is published every Friday by ParikhWorldwide Media LLC., I15West 30th Street, Suite 1206, NewYork, NY 10001. Periodicals postage paid at NewYork, N.Y., and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address change to News IndiaTimes, 115West 30th Street, Suite 1206, NewYork, N.Y. 10001 Annual Subscription: United States: $28 Founder, Chairman & Publisher Dr. Sudhir M. Parikh Editor Ela Dutt Executive Editor Sujeet Rajan Reporter Ruchi Vaishnav Ahmedabad Bureau Chief Arun Shah Photographers Peter Ferreira, Deval Parikh Chief Operating Officer Ilyas Qureshi Executive Vice President Bhailal M. Patel Business Development Manager - U.S. JimGallentine Manager Business Development - Ahmedabad M.P. Singh Chauhan Senior Manager Advertising & Marketing Shahnaz Sheikh Advertising Manager Sonia Lalwani Advertising New York Shailu Desai Advertising Chicago Muslima Shethwala Syed Sheeraz Mahmood Consultant for Business Development Ahemdabad, India Digant Sompura Circulation Manager Hervender Singh Graphic Designer Ajita Kapoor Main Office Editorial & Corporate Headquarters 115 West 30th Street, Suite 1206 New York, NY 10001-4043 Tel. (212) 675-7515 Fax. (212) 675-7624 E-mails Website Chicago Office 2652 West Devon Avenue, Suite B Chicago, IL 60659 Tel. (773) 856-3345 California Office 650 Vermont Ave, Suite #46 Anaheim, CA 92805 Mumbai Office Nikita Ajay Pai Goregaon, West Mumbai Ahmedabad Office 303 Kashiparekh Complex C.G. Road, 29 Adarsh Society Ahmedabad 380009 Tel. 26446947 F ax. 26565596 S. Samuel C. Rajiv Associate fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi. Modi andBibi AreBrothers InArms A s the federal government prepares to conduct the 2020 Census, critics of the Census Bureau are pushing to make fundamental changes to how it col- lects its data. This month,Ward Connerly and Mike Gonzalez argued in The Post that the agency should remove questions in the census used to monitor race and ethnicity in our country. This is a bad idea - based on incorrect in- formation - that would do more harm than good to our country. First, the Census Bureau's race and ethnic classifications do not overlook the growing mixed-race population in the United States, as Connerly and Gonzalez suggested. In fact, the government specifically redesigned the 2000 decennial to let Americans more easily self-identify with multiple racial and ethnic groups. This information can be found in any of the countless statistical reports rou- tinely issued by the Census Bureau describ- ing the ever-changing population of our nation. Questions regarding racial and ethnic self-identification have been included in each U.S. census dating back to the first in 1790. The specific wording of those ques- tions and the level of specificity requested have, of course, been revised significantly over 220 years, reflecting our evolving under- standing and respect for the cultural diver- sity of our nation. Regardless, racial and ethnic self-identifi- cation is an essential component of the identities of millions of Americans. It is a valuable proxy indicator of their life experi- ences, and researchers have found that race and ethnicity are consistently associated with numerous measures of social well- being. This information is also routinely used to expose politically motivated attempts to ger- rymander congressional districts. This month's court order to redraw North Car- olina districts, which appear to have been designed in part to limit the representation of minority groups, is the most recent exam- ple illustrating the importance of objective, nonpartisan statistical information to ensure equal protection of the rights of all Ameri- cans. Removing this information from the decennial census would make it easier for us to ignore the social discrimination, health and economic disparities that persist in our nation. Of course, social researchers recognize the imperfect measurement of race, ethnic- ity and most of the other social constructs that we study. There are many legitimate criticisms of the existing measures, and on- going efforts in government, academia and private enterprise continue to develop more rigorous and useful measures. The Census Bureau has historically served as a leader in these efforts, typically making changes to census questions only after lengthy periods of careful research, experimentation and public comment. Questions regarding racial and ethnic self-identification will undoubt- edly continue to evolve in the future. Those changes will hopefully be made in the name of public service and based on nonpartisan research. - S PECIAL T O T HE W ASHINGTON P OST Census ShouldBeTrackingRace, Ethnicity By Timothy P. Johnson, Roger Tourangeau