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5 reasons why Israel matters to India

 

Newdelhi:4/7/17;Defence, agriculture, trade, diplomacy and water management will dominate talks during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ongoing visit to Israel — the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Jewish homeland. Apart from from his scheduled official engagements, Modi is also expected to meet Moshe Holtzberg, a survivor of the 2008 Mumbai 26/11 terrorist attack. Moshe was two years old when the attack happened.

“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 today:

Defence: India is Israel’s top destination for arms exports, buying 41 per cent 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 per cent share of imports between 2012 and 2016, next to the US (14 per cent) and Russia (68 per cent).

Diplomacy: Several ministerial and high-level official visits to Israel preceded Modi’s tour. These included visits by then Home Minister L.K. 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.

Agriculture: 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.

Water Management: 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 an MoU on water resources management and development cooperation in November 2016.

Trade: Israel was India’s 38th-largest trading partner, with trade of $5.02 billion (Rs 33,634 crore) in 2016-17, down 18 per cent 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.

India’s major imports from Israel in 2016-17 included natural or cultured pearls and precious stones, worth $1.11 billion.

The Israeli government has proposed measures such as “offering export insurance, liberalising the aviation sector and granting longer-term visas”. The aim is to boost Israeli exports to India by 25 per cent over the next four years and tourists to 80,000 annually.

“Relations with Israel are significant for India because of cooperation in agriculture, defence and science/technology,” Uttara Sahasrabuddhe, professor of international relations at the University of Mumbai, told IndiaSpend.

About Editor in chief

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.

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