India and Israel are all-weather friends | analysis | Hindustan Times
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India and Israel are all-weather friends

Innovation is interwoven into every field of Indo-Israeli cooperation. Today, we are working together on joint projects in agriculture, water, defence, health, start-ups, space and education.

analysis Updated: Jan 14, 2018 17:57 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu upon his arrival at Air Force station Palam in New Delhi on Sunday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu upon his arrival at Air Force station Palam in New Delhi on Sunday.(PTI Photo)

There is something intangible yet palpable which makes India-Israel relations special. Every Israeli who has visited India has felt it. Every Indian who has travelled to Israel has felt it. Every person who joins the incredible journey of India-Israel relations has felt it. Everyone who witnessed the chemistry between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Prime Minister Modi, likely to be seen again in the coming days, has felt it. It runs beneath every government to government, business to business and people to people interaction between our nations for generations.

Today, we are standing at an exciting juncture. Behind us are nearly 26 years of growing partnership between India and Israel, stemming from a deep connection between our two peoples. It is a connection which took its first steps in antiquity and has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. Ahead of us is a future brimming with possibility and endless potential to shape a better world together.

Our joint journey is based on shared values and is fuelled by a drive for innovation. Our two peoples have transformed from ancient civilisations to vibrant modern democracies, and we continue to evolve in order to meet the challenges of our time and the challenges of tomorrow. The key, however, is not only to adapt as reality around us changes, but to think ahead and transform the world as it is into a better one for future generations.

In their unique dynamics, India and Israel have the power to do just that. The relations between our two countries have unfolded from a focused cooperation to a diverse and resounding partnership. In word and in deed, Israel has proven to be India’s all-weather friend. Today, India and Israel are working together on joint projects in agriculture, water, defence, health, start-ups, space and education. Each project is powered by innovation, India’s vast experience and Israel’s cutting edge technology.

The best part about these relations is that it is not all talk – our cooperation in every field has been signed and delivered. During Prime Minister Modi’s historic visit to Israel in July, the three main topics on the agenda were agriculture, water and innovation. We promised we would advance India-Israel cooperation in these fields, and we have.

Since that visit and the visit of Prime Minister Netanyahu this week, seven Centres of Excellence under the India-Israel Agricultural Project have become fully functional, bringing the total of centres today to 20 out of 35 potential centres. Simultaneously, India and Israel signed a three-year plan deepening the knowledge dispersed by each centre. Thus we are both expanding and enhancing our cooperation for the benefit of the farmer. As we expand our agricultural cooperation on the government levels, we hope to be joined by the private sectors in integrating best practices and technologies among farmers across India.

Israel’s water experts, having overcome severe water shortages in revolutionary and innovative ways, are actively engaging with Indian officials. Together, they are considering the intricate water challenges India is facing and building strategies for efficient water use and reuse. The results of our cooperation could potentially serve countries the world over.

Innovation is interwoven into every field of India-Israel cooperation, but the field of innovation itself has also advanced since July. The Technological Innovation Fund created during Prime Minister Modi’s visit has been ratified by both our governments and a call for proposals has already been made. The promised India-Israel Innovation Challenge has awarded 36 Indian and Israeli startups in agriculture, water and health with tools to boost their technology. All conceived in July, delivered in January.

The great strides we have taken have been made possible by the strong connection between our peoples. MOUs signed between leaders can only be delivered when backed with the support of the private sector and the people. India and Israel’s bond, rooted in a deep friendship, brings together farmers, scientists, entrepreneurs, businesspeople, artists, academicians, and many more to join hands and shape our future.

During Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit, India and Israel will make more promises in various fields. And we make one additional promise: just as our track record shows, promises we make are promises we keep. Today, we mould the next 25 years of India-Israel relations and beyond, committed to leaving a better world behind for our children in India, Israel and children all over the world. Together, India and Israel are making a difference.

Daniel Carmon is Israel’s ambassador to India

The views expressed are personal