Free Online Course -India and Its International Relations
:: India-Israel Relations ::
India announced its recognition of Israel on September 17,
1950. Soon thereafter, the Jewish Agency established an immigration office in
Bombay. This was later converted into a Trade Office and subsequently a
Consulate. Embassies were opened in 1992 when full diplomatic relations were
Since the upgradation of relations in 1992, defence and
agriculture formed the two main pillars of our bilateral engagement. In recent
years, relations have seen rapid growth across a broad spectrum of areas and the
future vision of the cooperation is of a strong hi-tech partnership as befits
two knowledge economies.
Political ties between the two countries are friendly. The
last visit at the level of President/Prime Minister was by the then Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who visited India on a state visit in September
2003. During the visit the Delhi Statement on Friendship and Cooperation between
India and Israel was signed. Then External Affairs Minister Shri S M Krishna
visited Israel in 2012, which marked the 20th anniversary of establishment of
full diplomatic relations between India and Israel. Increased high-level
exchanges and ministerial visits on both sides have expanded cooperation in
different functional areas such as trade, agriculture, S&T,culture and security.
Economic and Commercial Relations
From US$ 200 million in 1992 (comprising primarily trade in
diamonds), bilateral merchandise trade has diversified and reached US$ 5.19
billion in 2011. However, the past few years have seen a decline in total trade
due to the global economic recession. In 2013, the bilateral trade stood at US$
6.01 billion (Source: Dept. of Commerce, GOI) with the balance of trade in
Israel’s favour. Trade in diamonds constitutes over half of bilateral trade. In
2013, India was Israel's tenth largest trade partner overall, and Israel's third
largest trade partner in Asia after China and Hong Kong. In recent years, the
bilateral trade has diversified somewhat with the inclusion of several sectors
such as pharmaceuticals, agriculture, IT and telecom, and homeland security.
Potash is a major item of Israel’s exports to India, with India buying a
significant percentage of its requirement from Israel.
Major exports from India to Israel
include precious stones and metals, chemical products,
textiles and textile articles, plants and vegetable products, and mineral
products. Major imports by India from Israel include precious stones and metals,
chemicals and mineral products, base metals and machinery and transport
equipment. The total bilateral trade in services was about US $ 407 million in
2012. India's services exports to Israel were about US$ 317 million, of which
US$ 162.6 million was in R&D services In recent years, Israel has taken a
strategic decision to strengthen economic relations with China and India.
Free Trade Agreement
Since 2010 the two sides are negotiating an FTA covering trade in goods and
services and the eighth round was held in Israel in November 2013.
During April 2000-November 2013, Israel ranked 43rd among
foreign direct investors with FDI into India of US$ 73.7 million. The data does
not capture FDI flows from Israel to India that flow through USA, Europe and
Singapore. Israeli companies have invested in India in energy, renewable energy,
telecom, real estate, water technologies, and are also setting up R&D centres or
production units in India.
While official data about India’s investment in Israel is not
available, significant investments from India in Israel include 100% acquisition
of Israeli drip-irrigation company Naandan by Jain Irrigation, Sun Pharma’s 66%
stake in Taro Pharmaceuticals and Triveni Engineering Industries’ investment in
Israeli waste-water treatment company Aqwise. TCS started operations in Israel
in 2005, and the State Bank of India opened a branch in Tel Aviv in 2007.
India and Israel have a bilateral agreement for cooperation
in agriculture. Under the bilateral Action Plan for 2012-2015, agricultural
cooperation has been expanded to seven states including Haryana, Maharashtra,
Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Punjab. Around ten India-Israel
Centres of Excellence for cooperation in agriculture have been set-up so far, of
the thirty centres that are expected to be established by 2015.
India has benefited from Israeli expertise and technologies
in horticulture mechanization, protected cultivation, orchard and canopy
management, nursery management, micro- irrigation and post-harvest management
particularly in Haryana and Maharashtra. Israeli drip irrigation technologies
and products are now widely used in India. Some Israeli companies and experts
are providing expertise to manage and improve dairy farming in India through
their expertise in high milk yield.
Defence & Security
India imports critical defence technologies from Israel.
There are regular exchanges between the armed forces. The last major visit from
the Indian side was that of the Chief of Army Staff and Chairman of Chiefs of
Staff Committee General Bikram Singh (March 2014). Four Indian naval ships from
the Western Fleet made a port call in Haifa in Aug 2012.
There is cooperation on security issues and there is a Joint
Working Group on Counter-Terrorism that meets periodically. In February 2014,
India and Israel signed three important agreements on Mutual Legal Assistance in
Criminal Matters, Cooperation in Homeland and Public Security, and Protection of
Cooperation in S&T
India-Israel cooperation in S&T has evolved on two tracks.
There is joint research by S&T institutions under an S&T Cooperation Agreement
signed in 1993. Secondly, under an MOU on Industrial Research and Development
Initiative signed in 2005, a joint industrial R&D fund i4RD was set up to
promote bilateral industrial R&D and specific projects. Under i4RD, joint
projects by the industry are funded, involving at least one Indian and one
Israeli company. Since the launch of this programme in 2006, seven projects have
been approved. On May 7, 2013 Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology
and the Karnataka Science and Technology Promotion Society signed an MoU with
Israel’s MATIMOP, the Israeli Industry Center for R&D, for industrial R&D
partnership. Through the program, industries may seek financial support through
partner matching and funding for joint bilateral R&D projects, involving at
least one small/medium scale company of Karnataka and one Israeli company.
MATIMOP is discussing similar programmes with Gujarat and Rajasthan.
In January 2014, India and Israel held extensive discussions to establish an
India-Israel Cooperation Fund aimed at promoting innovations through joint
scientific and technological collaborations. The Fund is envisaged to have a
total corpus of US$ 40 million over a period of five years, with each side
contributing US$ 20 million. On the Indian side, the Department of Science and
Tehnology is the nodal Deaprtment.
Both sides are also discussing a joint fund for Industrial R&D in IT and
electronics. The GOI has announced a contribution of US$5 million towards this
Tata Industries and Ramot, Tel Aviv University (the
University’s technology transfer company) have entered into an MoU to fund and
generate commercialisation-ready technologies in a wide range of fields,
including engineering, exact sciences, environment and clean technology,
pharmaceuticals and healthcare. Under the MoU, Tata Industries, with an
investment of US$ 5 million, will be the lead investor in Ramot’s US$20 million
Technology Innovation Momentum Fund.
Culture and Education
India is known in Israel as an ancient nation with strong
cultural traditions, and in popular Israeli perception, India is an attractive,
alternative tourist destination. Israeli youth are particularly attracted to
India. India is a destination of choice for over 40,000 Israelis who visit India
every year for tourism and business. Over 40,000 Indians visited Israel in 2013,
the largest number of tourists from an Asian country. They are mostly pilgrims
who visit the holy sites.
Several courses related to India are taught at Tel Aviv
University, Hebrew University and Haifa University. India has signed an MoU with
Tel Aviv University for a Chair for Indian studies in the Department of East and
South East Asian Studies under which Indian Professors have been coming for a
semester. Some private and public Indian universities have entered into
agreements with Israeli universities for faculty exchange under which Israeli
professors spend a semester teaching in India.
In May 2013, India and Israel launched a new funding
programme of joint academic research, the first round of which will focus on
both exact sciences and humanities. Each government is contributing US$ 5
million annually for five years. The programme will provide support for nearly
50 collaborations providing up to US$ 300,000 for an experimental project or
US$180,000 for a theoretical project for up to three years. The couterpart
organisations are University Grants Commission and the Israel Science
Since 2012, Israel offers post-doctoral scholarships to
students from India and China in all fields over a period of three years with
triennial grants of NIS 100,000. Although no quota is provided for participant
countries, in 2013-14, 78 of the 100 fellowships awarded were to Indian
students. The Government of Israel has also approved 250 summer scholarships for
eight courses for Indian and Chinese students in prestigious Israeli
universities like Technion (IIT Haifa), Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University
and Ben Gurion University. India offers seven ICCR scholarships and Know India
Scholarships to Israelis every year.
In 2013, the Naan Dan Jain Irrigation Company instituted two
annual scholarships for Israeli exponents of Indian art and culture to continue
studies in India. Four Israelis have been awarded the scholarship so far. This
year, the Indian diamond community have set up a fund to finance study tours to
India of meritorious Israeli students of Hindi.
This is Part of
of IAS Mains General Studies Combo
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