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India, Israel Upgrading Bilateral Ties

The growing alliance between the two countries is bearing fruit on both sides of the relationship
Campus  of high-tech firm Infosys in Pune, India (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Campus of high-tech firm Infosys in Pune, India (Photo credit: Courtesy)

India hopes to sign three large agreements on water, energy and education, during Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s state visit to Israel. The visit, scheduled for later in October, would be the first of its kind by an Indian head of the state.

Talking to Indian news agency PTI, Israel’s envoy to India Ambassador Daniel Carmon said, “[India and Israel] are working together in the field of defence and agriculture and looking at ways to widen the partnerships in fields such as water, energy and education.”

Ever since India established diplomatic relations with Jewish State in January 1992, bilateral cooperation between the two countries has increased substantially. Since early 1990s, trade between India and Israel has risen from the base of 200 million to over $5 billion in 2014-15.

Indian multinationals have made long-term investments to the tune of hundreds of millions in Israeli start-up eco-system. Indian technology firms, operating in a competitive global market, see Israel as the destination for world class talent and for acquiring cutting-edge innovation.

Prestigious Israeli institutions of higher education like IDC Herzliya and Tel Aviv University have tied up with leading Indian universities and research institutions to create exchange programs and joint research projects. Flagship programs like the ones offered by Israel-Asia Centre and Tel Aviv University are training the next generation of Indian corporate and technology leaders, with special focus on women entrepreneurship.

With the recent renewal of the bilateral agriculture agreement, Israel has now made India its biggest partner in the field of agriculture. Israel’s international development agency MASHAV already operates 26 agriculture technology centres in 9 states across India that act as platforms for technology transfer to the Indian farmers–aimed at increasing agriculture productivity and improving the quality of farm yield.

A lot needs to be done to make up for the ‘lost decades’ of missed opportunities in diplomacy and commerce. However, In past 17 months under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has signalled its desire to treat Israel as a valued partner. Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Israel later this month would cement India’s commitment to further strengthen and expand India-Israel relations.

About the Author
Vijeta Uniyal is an Indian journalist based in Europe. He is Contributing Editor for the Commentator and Senior Distinguished Fellow at New York-based Gatestone Institute. He graduated from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) and worked for more than 10 years in international organisations, including German Foreign Office, German Minister for Economics and Technology, Goethe Institute and Humboldt Foundation.
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