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PM Narendra Modi was on a State visit to Israel from 4th-6th July, 2017.
- It was a historic visit as he became the first Prime Minister of India to visit Israel.
- This year marks the completion of 25 years of diplomatic relations between India and Israel.
- He was received by his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu.
- Both countries signed 7 agreements including 3 on Space Corporation.
- They had a discussion on strategic advantages for both countries and means to fight growing radicalisation and terrorism.
- Both countries to put $4 million per annum for 5 years in the Israel-India Innovation Initiative Fund (I4F)
- Expansion of air linkages to be done between the two countries.
- Discussion took place on Science and Technology, Space Innovation, Higher Education, Research and Development etc.
- Both countries look towards a strategic partnership in the fields of Water and Agriculture.
- Prime Minister of India also addressed the Indian diaspora.
- Israel does not have good relations with the Arab world especially its neighbours. It has serious issues with Palestine over territory and boundary.
- India always had a precautionary approach towards Israel since the Nehruvian-Gandhi times for various reasons.
- India always had strong ties with Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and has always been a major importer of oil from the Middle-East.
- Although India-Israel had good trade and defence relationships but a visit of the Prime Minister has definitely strengthened the bilateral relations and cooperation immensely.
Why Israel matters to India?
- Israel is India’s third largest source of arms. (1st is USA, 2nd is Russia)
- Historically, Israel helped India with military aid during 1962, 1965, 1971 wars.
- Israel supplied Artillery Shells during the Kargil War of 1999.
- In the late 1990s, India purchased Barak 1 (Air Defence Missile System) from Israel to counter Pakistani missiles.
- Almost all of India’s imports of UAVs have been from Israel.
- April 2017: $2Bn deal for advanced medium range surface to air missile system.
- India successfully tested Israeli made SPYDER quick reaction surface to air missile system. Indian Air Force (IAF) to deploy it on the western borders of India.
- Israel has state-of-the-art Water Management Technologies which can help India increase its agricultural productivity.
- In 2008, Israel and India finalised an agricultural plan introducing crops native to the Middle East and Mediterranean to India, with a particular focus on olives.
- In 2008, Israel and India signed the Agriculture Cooperation Agreement, which established the Indo-Israel Agricultural Cooperation Project. The project’s central aim is to utilise Israeli Technology to increase crop productivity and diversity in various regions in India. The implementation of the project occurs through establishment of agricultural Centres of Excellence in India that focus on growing Horticultural crops, reducing seeds and cut-flowers, and also on beekeeping and dairy farming.
- SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
- In 1993, both countries signed an agreement on science and technology, which allowed for direct scientific cooperation between both governments.
- Specific areas of cooperation included information technology, biotechnology, lasers, and electro-optics.
- In 2012, Israel stated its intent to increase technological and economic cooperation with the Indian state of Bihar, in the field of agriculture, water management, solar energy and medical insurance.
- In 2014, Israel made plans to open two agricultural Centres of Excellence in Bihar, focusing on increasing productivity of vegetables and mango crops.
- Israel has offered to help the Indian Government with a project to clean the Ganga.
- Israel offered its expertise in the field of water management to battle water scarcity.
- In 2002, indian and Isrel signed a cooperative agreement promoting space collaboration between both nations.
- Israel Space Agency (ISA) has collaborated with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for Space Research and innovating new technologies.
- Israel used India’s low cost and famous Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) to launch its satellites.
- In 2009, India launched Israel’s RISAT-2, a synthetic aperture radar imaging satellite. It helped India with greater earth observation power, which improved disaster management, and increase surveillance and defence capabilities.
Why India matters to Israel?
- India is the largest importer of Israeli arms and other defence equipments. Bilateral trade between India and Israel grew from $200 million in 1992 to $4.52 billion in 2014.
- India has shown true friendship in the past during Israel’s 6 day war by supplying spare parts for French made ‘Mystere’ and ‘Ouragan’ Aircrafts and AX-13 tanks.
- India is a big market for exporting Agriculture Technologies, Water Management and Efficient methodologies.
- Israel has a lot of enemies in it’s neighbourhood and otherwise, and is generally cornered by countries at global forums. It needs strategic partnerships with strong democratic nations with global presence.
- Indian ISRO has gained a lot of respect with a strong of successful launches at an extremely low cost. This brings various Space Agencies including ISA closer to ISRO with collaborations and tie-ups.
- Israel like India is desperate to fight terrorism and further secure it’s borders.