Mains Daily Question
March 10, 2021
- India-Israel relationship has gradually moved beyond defence sector cooperation into a more comprehensive one but certain issues still need to be resolved. Explain.
- Introduce with showing progress in India-Israel relationship.
- Highlight the areas including defence sector where both the countries are cooperating
- Point out certain issues in the India-Israel relationship.
- Conclude with an optimistic note on the India-Israel relationship.
India and Israel share a very important, sometimes complicated, yet unique relationship. Both countries have pursued common interests, values, and solutions based on their geopolitical situations.
India-Israel Defence Cooperation:
- India is the largest buyer of Israeli military equipment and Israel is the second-largest defence supplier to India after Russia.
- In February 2014, India and Israel signed three important agreements on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, Cooperation in Homeland Security, and Protection of Classified Material.
- Military and strategic ties between the two nations extend to intelligence sharing on terrorist groups and joint military training
Over time, India-Israel relationship has moved beyond the defence sector which can be seen from the following:
- Trade: From US$ 200 million in 1992 (comprising primarily trade in diamonds), bilateral merchandise trade stood at US$ 5.65 billion (excluding defence) in 2018-19, with the balance of trade being in India’s favour by US$ 1.8 billion. Trade in diamonds constitutes close to 40% of bilateral trade.
- Water technology: Israel has become one of the leading technology providers to India in the field of rainwater harvesting, use of oceanic water for irrigation purposes etc.
- Agriculture: India and Israel are set to develop new crop varieties and share post-harvest technologies following the success of 10-year-old Indo-Israel Agriculture project (IIAP). 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
- Others: Recently, MoUs were signed for cooperation in various sectors like “India- Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund” which will enhance the knowledge base of Indian industries.
Despite this growing bonhomie, there are certain issues which still need to be resolved such as:
- Palestine: India and Israel have different stands in the Arab world, especially on the issue of Palestine, thus becoming a bone of contention between the two countries.
- Iran:Iran is a persisting threat to Israel but India has a strong relationship with Iran in fields of energy, as well as growing strategic importance due to Chabahar port, International North–South Transport Corridor etc.
- FTA: Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the countries is in a stalemate because of the concerns from Indian domestic industry.
Thus, India will need to navigate its relationship with Israel keeping in mind the advantages in the bilateral context, and the challenges in the regional aspects, so as to harness maximum benefit.