“The Israeli cabinet approved a 23-page document continuing scores of bilateral measures and a budget of Rs 514 crore – a bigger sum than Israel has ever set aside for China, Africa and Latin America combined.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu will discuss a host ofcooperative deals in defence, agriculture, trade, diplomacy and water management during the former’s ongoing visit to the Middle Eastern country. Narendra Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit theJewish homeland.
“Ahead of the visit, both countries have prepared a roadmap of joint economic undertakings,” The Haaretz reported on June 29, 2017. “The Israeli cabinet approved a 23-page document continuing scores of bilateral measures and a budget of 280 million shekels (about $79.6 million or Rs 514 crore) – a bigger sum than Israel has ever set aside for China, Africa and Latin America combined. No fewer than 11 ministries were involved in preparing the programme.”
Here are five things that define the India-Israel relationship.
India is Israel’s top destination for arms exports, buying 41% of export between 2012 and 2016, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, an independent global conflict and arms-research institute.
Israel is India’s third-largest source of arms, with a 7.2% share of imports between 2012 and 2016, next to the US (14%) and Russia (68%).
during the Kargil war in 1999 when India faced a shortage.
Several ministerial and high-level official visits to Israel preceded Modi’s tour. These included visits by then Home Minister LK Advani in 2000, former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2008, Home Minister Rajnath Singh in 2014, President Pranab Mukherjee in 2015 and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in 2016.
Three Indian naval ships, destroyer INS Mumbai, frigate INS Trishul and tanker INS Aditya, made a goodwill visit at the Haifa port in May 2017 to mark 25 years of full diplomatic relations between the two countries.
An Indo-Israel agriculture action plan for 2015-18 is operational, and 15 of the proposed 26 centres of excellence in agriculture are being developed in India with Israel’s help to showcase the latest technology to Indian farmers.
Phase-I (2010-12) and phase-II (2012-15) of the agreement are complete, according to a reply to the Lok Sabha.
India has benefited from Israeli technologies in horticulture mechanisation, protected cultivation, orchard and canopy management, nursery management, micro-irrigation and post-harvest management, particularly in Haryana and Maharashtra.
There was a five-to 10-fold increase in crop yields with an accompanying 65% reduction in use of water and noticeable decrease in the use of pesticides and fertilisers, according to a December 2014 report on the Indo-Israel Agriculture Project.
On June 28, 2017, the Union cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Israel on the National Campaign for Water Conservation in India.
Technologically-adept Israel has developed water-management technologies, located as it is in a semi-arid region with limited sources of fresh drinking water.
India and Israel had earlier signed a MoU on water resources management and development cooperation in November 2016.
Israel was India’s 38th-largest trading partner, with trade of $5.02 billion (Rs 33,634 crore) in 2016-17, down 18% over 2012-13. The trade balance stood in India’s favour at $1.10 billion (Rs 7,370 crore) in 2016-17.
Mineral fuels and oils are India’s leading export to Israel, worth $1.01 billion in 2016-17.
Trade in diamonds accounts for nearly 54% of the bilateral trade. Nearly 40 diamond dealers from India have opened offices at the Israeli diamond exchange in Ramat-Gan. Some of these dealers have been active in Israel for nearly 30-40 years.
“Israel has been giving key weapons systems to India, including missiles; it has given us those weapons which we could not directly buy from the US for ideological reasons; cooperation in counter-terrorism from information sharing to techniques/doctrine of counter terrorism,” Sahasrabudde said. “It is also an important source of foreign investment, if tapped with care. The visit of the Indian PM will indicate that New Delhi has come out of the old mindset.”