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Israel and India relations: The dire need of time

India and Israel can help each other without investing much and without wreaking havoc on issues such as the environment
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at an event celebrating 25 years of good relations between Israel and India, at the Convention Center in Tel Aviv, on July 5, 2017 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at an event celebrating 25 years of good relations between Israel and India, at the Convention Center in Tel Aviv, on July 5, 2017 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Several economic policies of Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi are focused towards doubling the farmer’s income by 2020. It is also, by the fact; inclined with a scheme known as ‘ Pradhan Mantri Krishi Seenchayi Yojana’ announced by Mr. Modi as a newcomer PM.

The Problem:

If you really take time to analyze Mr. Modi’s vision for the betterment of agrarian land, you’ll find a picturesque dream of pipes connected to every agrarian land, fulfilled by on-demand water supply; like you find every house connected with on-demand water supply.

Admittedly, It is very tranquilizing to imagine this future but the fact is that it-is-a-dream. One cannot imagine how Mr. Modi’s gonna make it come true. He hints towards Pan-India River-Linking projects feeding this countywide irrigation pipelines. This is an ambitious vision which comes with humongous investment carrying greater returns but factually it is kinda moonshot project like we hear in Silicon Valley.

Certainly, payoffs are massive. This’ll reserve special status for Mr. Modi in Indian political arena though River Interlinking, which is only a part of his ambitious vision; is intended to put stop on flood, drought, irregular electricity supply, migration and various other factors. It’ll also wreak havoc on the people who care about ecological and environmental issues, displacement of people, fisheries profession, poverty and population issues. ref.1,2

Lets put it straight, if river linking has the capacity of solving huge problems then it can also open a pandora box of not-so-huge problems. Mr. Modi is in a situation to choose between bad and worse upcoming. Chances are he’s being lured by planners who are backed by industrialists who have vested interests in the projects, dam builders for example. All in the name of uplifting agriculture.

The Twist:

Now, let’s zoom out and pan to Israel on the globe. A developed economy, Israel has been plagued by substantial poverty and large income gaps; for a long time which Mr. Netanyahu is now trying to get together.

The biggest task for Mr. Netanyahu, when he came to power in 2015; was to reform the stagnated Israeli agriculture sector. In August 2015, Netanyahu’s government approved a two-year budget that would see agricultural reforms and decrease in import duties to reduce food prices. In the end, the government was forced to compromise by removing some key agricultural reforms. ref.3,4

India and Israel are at totally different economic stages. Israel is suffering from substantial poverty and large income gaps, India on the other hand; is a developing economy that has to focus on manufacturing to retain high growth rates and generate jobs for its predominantly young population.

The Hurdle:

Most of the Indian population is young and need jobs but there aren’t adequate opportunities as private investment is not picking up because it’s technologically starved nation. Israel is saturated with technology and investment also requires various things to keep up. And, of course; it has a lot of know-how to impart. India and Israel can surely come together for mutual benefit.

Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu are known for their distinctive economic policies. They also share great chemistry as is evident from India and Israel joining in several fields such as space and defense to the infamous barefoot ‘beach-walk’.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi visit the water desalination plant at Olga beach on July 6, 2017. (Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90/AFP)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi visit the water desalination plant at Olga beach on July 6, 2017. (Kobi Gideon /GPO /Flash90 /AFP)

Modi and Netanyahu share lot of common grounds personally and strategically. If these leaders take their head out of the spectrum of professional ‘Planners’ for betterment, then they could see that India-Israel could help each other out very easily even without investing much and wreaking havoc on already worse issues such as the environment.

The Solution:

A simple strategy could work.

  1. India should take Israel’s pioneer industrial reverse-osmosis technology, with this it can solve drinking and irrigation water supply problem from sea-water by investing little into making a web of pipelines instead of converting rivers into canals. This’ll save billion drawing into river-linking extravaganza without touching environmental issues. Results would be the same, a thriving agricultural output and effective solution to water sanity, drought, poverty etc.
  2. Israel can solve its food problem by an exclusive agreement with India in return for technology. It’ll ensure consistent inflow of food products; like Iran enjoyed consistent cash-flow from India during global ban days, like Qatar secured future cash-flow after exclusive agreement with India for LNG which took global LNG prices to the floors. Apart from this, there are many ways to take benefit from India by getting together through defense deals, diplomatic collaborations, market possibilities etc.

The Outcome:

Both countries should collaborate on those areas where they pose strong foothold. India has agricultural export abilities but lacks technology. Israel has the technology but lacking agricultural production abilities. This simple equation can be a solution to many problems as detailed above but it is tough to execute because it’ll hurt the sentiment of those people who have vested and monetary interests into creating then solving problems.

Indeed, Mr. Modi and Mr. Netanyahu have the ability to corner these people. For now, we can only wait for the time when they take their head out of picturesque spectrum created by so-called betterment professionals and bureaucrats. ref.5 Whatever is in the womb of time, one thing is certain that both nations should fasten up to help each other. It is the dire need of time.

This article is a first in the upcoming series on Israel-India relations. Writer tweets @vishaldwdi also find him on Facebook and Medium

About the Author
Vishal Dwivedi is a science graduate; a history and politics scholar. He is working as a app designer and technology advisor/contributor since five years. He has been a grateful speaker at several foreign policy forums.
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