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RSTV- The Big Picture : India-Israel Joint Statement

  • IASbaba
  • February 5, 2018
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The Big Picture- RSTV
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India-Israel Joint Statement

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TOPIC: General Studies 2

  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

It is the beginning of new era of friendship between India and Israel with 9 bilateral agreements signed in diverse fields other than defence. As per Israeli media reports, the discussion of Israeli issues was recognition of Israel’s status as partner of India and an increased say in trade and investments in India by Israel. The 9 agreements are in the field of

  • Cybersecurity Cooperation
  • Cooperation in Oil and Gas Sector
  • Air Transport Agreement Amendments
  • Film-co-production
  • Cooperation in the field of Research in Homeopathic Medicine
  • Cooperation in the field of space
  • Invest in India and invest in Israel
  • Metal-air batteries
  • Concentrated solar thermal technologies

The two countries are now exhibiting confidence to provide a profile to the relationship which has developed over 25 years. India-Israel relationship till now was premised only on defence and security cooperation which was a robust one. In major boost to investment environment, India is going to eliminate red tape to allow Israeli companies to invest in India and set up companies. This is important as Israel has technology and India has huge market. Also, leveraging this market with technological capacities can be used to export to third countries. Thus, an attempt is being to provide broad degree of institutional framework for the relationship to prosper.

Significance of joint statement

India and Israel have decided to take this strategic partnership on a wider scale. Two countries have decided to move forward and not get stuck on one (Palestine) issue. The UN vote has no significance as India and Israel have chosen to upgrade the relationship in bilateral context. Earlier India had calibrated relationship with Israel based on India’s support for Palestine. Very often due to growing relationship with Israel, it was felt that India would completely transform.  But this will not happen as India has principled support for Palestinian cause and India supports Palestinian independence, aspirations to be met and their right to be in a separate independent territory. Growing relationship with Israel doesn’t mean weakening of political support Palestine. India is keeping its general assertiveness and confidence in dealing with the international issues and is showing greater degree of confidence and pragmatism and deal with issues on their own merits and individualism.

Wider implications

India and Israel relationship has now come out of the closet because of changing geopolitical scenario in the region. If India and Israel would have come out in open before, there would have been reactions across the world. But today majority of countries are with Israel- Saudi Arabia, UAE- they are major trading partners and major interest areas. Apart from relationship with Iran, India doesn’t have any challenges vis-à-vis Israel.

Mutual benefits for both countries

  • Israel has specialized in precision agriculture. India is now waiting for another green revolution. Hence, India can tap into Israeli technology and support to benefit the states which were not a part of first green revolution.
  • Tourism is a hit with Israelis as they feel safe in India. But the Indian tourists visiting Israel has been limited. tourism in two decades has grown between both countries which still has fully untapped potential. Though, not same number of tourists in India because
    • Israel has not been marketed well in India
    • There is an apprehension of it being a conflict prone zone
  • Bollywood is India’s best soft power. To complement the tourism, there is an air traffic MOU also signed.
  • There is an inherent complementarity between India and Israel- India is producing platforms- aircrafts tanks, ships, Israelis has best sensors to be fitted on it.
  • India has advantage in space research which Israel can take advantage of
  • Israel has second largest number of startups in world after USA. Thus, India can induce the spirit of entrepreneurship in the country by exposing the Israeli startup environment.

Conclusion

India’s relationship with Israel has evolved and it has to look at it in bilateral context. Simultaneously, India has to carefully calibrate its relationship with Iran as it is an important pillar in the Middle East approaches. To serve the national interest should be the only context of growing relationship with Israel. And thus, India’s relationship with Israel would not impact India’s relationship with other countries. However, to improve its relationship with israel, India has to improve its delivery mechanisms else it will difficult on part of israel to maintain high value and high quantity business opportunities with India.

Israel is a reliable friend, it has provided critical support in defence which has to be now extended to defense production areas, agriculture, water management- water harvesting, water recycling, solar energy.

Connecting the dots:

  • India-Israel relation has the potential to create huge institutional gains in India’s infrastructure- social and economic. Critically examine.

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