Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin started his first state visit to India. This visit will provide crucial push to our efforts to build new pillars in our partnership. It will also carry forward the momentum generated by the first ever visit of President of India to Israel last year. Next year, both countries will be celebrating 25 years of the establishment of full diplomatic relations.
India officially recognized the State of Israel on 17th September, 1950. The then Prime Minister of India, Shri Jawahar Lal Nehru remarked, “we would have [recognized Israel] long ago, because Israel is a fact. We refrained because of our desire not to offend the sentiments of our friends in the Arab countries.”
India and Israel established full diplomatic relations in 1992 after the hesitations of the past were abandoned to pursue a deeper engagement. Since then, the relationship has grown tremendously and expanded the horizons from political, defence and economic engagements to tourism, science and technology, agriculture and cultural paradigms.
Cultural Linkages –
As fellow democracies, our people are our biggest strength and the biggest beneficiaries of a strong India-Israel partnership. The 2000-year old Jewish community in India represents a thriving link to this past. Today, it is a vital part of our composite cultural mosaic that continues to thrive in their traditions. India is the only country in the world where there has been no case of anti-Semitism (racial attack on Jewish community) ever.
Areas of Cooperation-
Our engagement is multi-dimensional and wide-ranging. We are partnering in:
• Enhancing agricultural productivity and efficiency;
• Boosting research and innovation linkages;
• Employing applications of science and technology for the benefit of our societies;
• Forging strong trade links and investment ties;
• Building defence ties to secure our people; and
• Enhancing people to people ties through greater cultural and tourism linkages.
• Promoting educational exchanges. The growing number of Indian students, going to study in Israel and vice versa can be an important bridge in our bilateral partnership.
Defence and strategic cooperation-
India is the largest customer of Israeli military equipment and Israel is the second-largest military partner of India after Russia. As of 2009, the military business between the two nations is worth around US$9 billion. Military and strategic ties between the two nations extend to joint military training and space technology. India is Israel’s largest defence market, accounting for almost fifty percent of Israeli sales.
India is also the second-largest Asian economic partner of Israel. In 2010, bilateral trade, excluding military sales, stood at US $4.7 billion. In August 2012, India and Israel signed a $50 million academic research agreement. Currently, the two nations are negotiating an extensive bilateral free trade pact, focusing on areas such as information technology, biotechnology and agriculture.
Ongoing visit –
President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to intensify counter-efforts to deal with “constant” security threats posed by terrorism. Israel recognize that terrorism is a global challenge which has no boundaries having extensive links with other forms of organised crimes.