Bengaluru: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel this week will be a historic one, being the first Indian PM to do so since Independence. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defined the visit of Prime Minister Modi as “historic,” and said he will accompany him to many of the sites on his visit. “This visit will deepen our cooperation in a wide range of fields – security, agriculture, water energy – essentially in all the areas that Israel is involved in,” Netanyahu said.
With this visit, the Indo-Israeli partnership can only become stronger by deepening and broadening areas of cooperation. Israel is already an important supplier of defence equipment to India, but this time, cooperation is likely to go much beyond, and include even water and agriculture. India now seeks from Israel advanced military technology, agricultural techniques to turn deserts into orchards, and inspiration to be another ‘startup nation’ in cutting edge technology.
Incidentally, this year, both countries will be celebrating 25 years of the establishment of full diplomatic relations. As both approach this big milestone, India is both committed to advance its engagement on several fronts. And, build on convergences and commonalities in India’s interests and concerns on regional and global issues.
India is familiar with Israel’s advances in agriculture, and its expertise in micro-irrigation in drought-prone areas and water management. India has identified water management and conservation, and collaboration in scientific research and development as two areas of priority engagement. Both countries have agreed that the current trajectory of the Indian economy opens up many promising opportunities for Israeli companies.
India’s economic initiatives and programmes, and emphasis on innovation, research and technological development match well with Israel’s strengths and capacities. Israeli companies can scale up their tie-ups with India’s flagship schemes of Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, and Smart Cities. Indian and Israeli companies can also work together in high-technology manufacturing, and services sectors. The partnership can generate jobs and benefit both geographies. IT services is an area where partnership can make a difference for both economies.
Another important thing is that both countries are constantly threatened by forces of terrorism and extremism. India recognizes that terrorism is a global challenge, knows no boundaries and has extensive links with other forms of organized crime. India has agreed that the international community must act with resolve and determination against terror networks and States that harbour them. Failure to act and silence of speech only encourages the terrorists.
India has agreed to intensify its cooperation to combat the forces of extremism and radicalization that threaten all peace-loving nations. India also prioritized practical and specific engagement such as in the cyber domain. India has noted the strength of its growing defence partnership. And, agreed on the need to make it more broad-based through production and manufacturing partnerships. India is also grateful to Israel for its clear support to India’s permanent candidature in a reformed UN Security Council.
Two and a half decades of Indo-Israeli friendship has brought rich dividends for both nations. It has also strengthened voices of peace, stability and democracy globally. Modi’s visit provides an opportunity to break new ground and shape new contours of partnership.