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International Relations

India-Israel Relations

  • 06 May 2023
  • 7 min read

For Prelims: India-Israel Relations, CSIR, AI, Sustainable Energy, FTA, I4F, AWACS, ISA, Abrahm Accords.

For Mains: India-Israel Relations.

Why in News?

Recently, India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Israel’s Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Industrial Research and Development Cooperation.

What are the Key Highlights of the MoU?

  • It aims to work together on research and development projects in various fields such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Quantum and semiconductors, synthetic biology, Sustainable Energy, Healthcare, and Agriculture. They will focus on implementing specific projects in mutually agreeable areas.
  • The collaboration will include important industrial sectors such as aerospace, chemicals, and infrastructure.
  • The MoU will be monitored by a Joint Steering Committee led by the heads of the CSIR and DDR&D for taking forward mutually benefiting Industrial and technology cooperation.

How has the India-Israel Relations been So Far?

  • Diplomatic:
    • Though India officially recognized Israel in 1950, both countries established full diplomatic ties only on 29th January 1992.
    • As of December 2020, India was among 164 United Nations (UN) member states to have diplomatic ties with Israel.
  • Economic and Commercial:
    • Trade between India and Israel has increased from USD 5 billion before the Covid-19 pandemic to about USD 7.5 billion till 2023 January.
      • Trade in diamonds constitutes about 50% of bilateral trade.
    • India is Israel's third-largest trade partner in Asia and seventh largest globally.
      • 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.
    • India is also in dialogue with Israel for concluding a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
  • Defence:
    • India is one of the largest importers of weapons from Israel, contributing to about 40% of its annual arms exports.
    • 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.
      • At the 15th Joint Working Group (JWG 2021) meeting on Bilateral Defence Cooperation, countries agreed to form a Task Force to formulate a comprehensive Ten-Year Roadmap to identify new areas of cooperation.
  • Agriculture:
    • In May 2021, “a three-year work program agreement” for development in agriculture cooperation, was signed.
    • The programme aims to grow existing Centres of Excellence (CoE), 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.
  • Science & Technology:
    • In recent years, multiple MoUs have been signed between Israel’s Start-Up National Central and Indian entrepreneurship centres like iCreate and TiE (Technology Business Incubators).
    • In 2022, the two countries recently widened the scope of the India-Israel Industrial R&D and Innovation Fund (I4F) to include sectors like renewable energy and ICT (Information and Communication Technology) through increased participation of academia and business entities.
      • I4F is a cooperation between the two countries to promote, facilitate and support joint industrial R&D projects between companies from India and Israel to address the challenges in the agreed ‘Focus Sectors’.
  • Others:

Way Forward

  • Indians are sympathetic towards Israel and the government is balancing and recalibrating its West Asia policy on the premise of its own national interest.
  • India and Israel need to overcome the vulnerability of their religious extremist neighbours and work productively on global issues like climate change, water scarcity, population explosion and food scarcity.
  • A more aggressive and proactive Middle Eastern policy is the need of the hour for India to reap the maximum benefit of the geopolitical realignments gradually being brought in by the Abraham Accords.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Prelims:

Q. The term “two-state solution” is sometimes mentioned in the news in the context of the affairs of (2018)

(a) China
(b) Israel 
(c) Iraq 
(d) Yemen

Ans: (b)

  • “Two-State Solution” is related to Israel-Palestine conflict. It aims at the resolution of this conflict via creation of two independent states – Israel and Palestine. It gained traction post Oslo Accord 1993, and is seen by many as the only viable solution to this impending crisis.
  • The framework of the solution is set out in the UN resolution on the “Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine”, going back to 1974.
  • Therefore, option (b) is the correct answer.

Mains:

Q. “India’s relations with Israel have, of late, acquired a depth and diversity, which cannot be rolled back.” Discuss (2018)

Source: PIB

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