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India - Israel Agreement on Agriculture Cooperation

  • 25 May 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

India and Israel have signed “a three-year work program agreement” for development in agriculture cooperation.

Key Points

  • Three-year Work Program:
    • The programme aims to grow existing Centres of Excellence, establish new centers, increase CoE’s value chain, bring the Centres of Excellence into the self-sufficient mode, and encourage private sector companies and collaboration.
    • Both countries are implementing the “INDO-ISRAEL Agricultural Project Centres of Excellence” and “INDO-ISRAEL Villages of Excellence”.
  • Indo-Israeli Agriculture Project:
    • Indo-Israeli Agricultural Cooperation Project started in 2008 following the signing of a three-year Action Plan based on a Government to Government Agreement.
    • Both started an agricultural fund worth $50 million that focused on dairy, farming technology and micro-irrigation.
    • By March 2014, 10 centres of excellence operated throughout India offering free training sessions for farmers on efficient agricultural techniques using Israeli technological expertise. Vertical farming, drip irrigation and soil solarization are taught at the centres.
  • INDO-ISRAEL Villages of Excellence (IIVOE):
    • This is a new concept aimed at creating a model ecosystem in agriculture across eight states, alongside 13 Centers of Excellence within 75 villages.
    • The program will promote the increase of net income and better the livelihood of the individual farmer, transforming traditional farms into modern-intensive farms based on Indo-Israel Agriculture Action Plan (IIAP) standards.
    • Large-scale and complete value chain approach with economic sustainability, embedded with Israeli novel technologies and methodologies will be tailored to local conditions.
    • The IIVOE program will focus on: (1) Modern Agriculture infrastructure, (2) Capacity Building, (3) Market linkage.

Indo-Israel Bilateral Cooperation

  • Historical Ties:
    • The strategic cooperation between the two countries began during the Sino-India War of 1962.
    • In 1965, Israel supplied M-58 160-mm mortar ammunition to India in the war against Pakistan.
    • It was one of the few countries that chose not to condemn India’s Pokhran nuclear tests in 1998.
  • Economic Cooperation:
    • 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.
    • India is Israel's third largest trade partner in Asia.
    • Israeli companies have invested in India in energy, renewable energy, telecom, real estate, water technologies, and are focusing on setting up R&D centers or production units in India.
    • The first recipients of grants from the Israel-India Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F) were announced in July 2018, including companies working to better the lives of Indians and Israelis through efficient water use, improving communications infrastructure, solar energy use, and life-changing surgeries.
      • The fund aims to help Israeli entrepreneurs enter the Indian market.
  • Defence Cooperation:
    • Israel has been among the top four arms suppliers to India for almost two decades now, notching military sales worth around USD 1 billion every year.
    • The Indian armed forces have inducted a wide array of Israeli weapon systems over the years, which range from Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) and Heron, Searcher-II and Harop drones to Barak anti-missile defence systems and Spyder quick-reaction anti-aircraft missile systems.
    • The acquisitions also include a host of Israeli missiles and precision-guided munitions, from Python and Derby air-to-air missiles to Crystal Maze and Spice-2000 bombs.
  • Covid-19 Response:
    • In 2020, an Israeli team arrived in India with a multi-pronged mission, codenamed Operation Breathing Space to work with Indian authorities on the Covid-19 response.

Source: IE

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