- Though India officially recognised Israel in 1950, the two countries established full diplomatic ties only on 29th January 1992.
- India was among 164 United Nations (UN) member states to have diplomatic ties with Israel.
- From USD 200 million in 1992, bilateral merchandise trade stood at USD 4.14 billion (excluding defense) during the period April 2020 – February 2021 with the balance of trade being in India’s favour.
- Trade in diamondsconstitutes about 50% of bilateral trade.
- India is Israel’s third-largest trade partner in Asia and seventh largest globally.
- India is the largest buyer of military equipment from Israel, which, in turn, is the second-largest defense supplier to India, after Russia.
- India has 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 defense 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.
Cooperation in Agriculture:
- In May 2021, “a three-year work program agreement” for development in agriculture cooperation, was signed.
- The programme aims to grow existing Centers of Excellence, establish new centers, increase CoE’s value chain, bring the Centers of Excellence into the self-sufficient mode, and encourage private sector companies and collaboration.
Science & Technology:
- India and Israel deliberated on widening the scope of India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F).
- 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’.
- Bilateral Trade and investment still below potential
- Trade has stagnated.
- Mainly confined to diamonds and defence.
- Free Trade Agreement talks has stagnated.
- With Israel and Saudi Arabia coming close with an aim to stop the rise of Iran, it will be tough for India to balance its relations with the three main poles of the West Asian region
- Human Rights violation by Israel against Palestine has been difficult for India to turn a blind eye
- Connectivity between two countries still poor
- China is attracted to Israel’s technology sector, and Israel welcomes China’s investments and potential as a research collaborator.
- Development along with transfer of defence technology will help India.
- India can leverage its space technologies to Israel for its developmental purposes where India enjoys upper hand.
- An integrated approach involving government to government, government to business and business to business interactions between Indians and Israeli agencies.
- India could well take a cue from how Israel maintains stringent external and internal security, allowing Israeli settlements right up to the border of conflict zones.
- India could adopt the three-layered Israeli strategy that goes beyond security to build a cyber system that is robust, resilient and has strong defence capabilities.
- Both need to cooperate to combat growing radicalisation and terrorism, including in cyber space