India formally recognised Israel on September 17, 1950. Soon thereafter, the Jewish Agency established an immigration office in Bombay. This was later converted into a Trade Office and subsequently into a Consulate. Embassies were opened in 1992 when full diplomatic relations were established
Since the upgradation of relations in 1992, defence and agriculture have been the main pillars of bilateral engagement.
In recent years, ties have expanded to areas such as S&T, education and homeland security
The future vision of the cooperation is of a strong hi-tech partnership as befits two leading knowledge economies.
Trade & Investment
From US$ 200 million in 1992 (comprising primarily trade in diamonds), bilateral merchandise reached US$ 5.19 billion in 2011. Since then, it has, however, stagnated around US$ 4 – 4.5 billion with bilateral trade (excluding defence) for 2016 being US$ 4.16 billion.
India and Israel have a bilateral agreement for cooperation in agriculture. The bilateral action plan for 2015-18 is currently operational. 15 out of the proposed 26 Centers of Excellence in agriculture being developed in India with Israeli help are active in different states such as Haryana, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat etc.
India has benefited from Israeli expertise and technologies in horticulture mechanization, protected cultivation, orchard and canopy management, nursery management, micro-irrigation and post-harvest management.
Israeli drip irrigation technologies and products are now widely used in India.
India imports important defence technologies from Israel.
Israeli Naval and Air Force Chiefs visited India in 2015.
Three Indian ships namely destroyer INS Mumbai, frigate INS Trishul and tanker INS Aditya made a goodwill visit at the Haifa port in May 2017 to mark 25 years of full diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Culture & education
India is known in Israel as an ancient nation with strong cultural traditions. Young Israelis perceive India as an attractive tourist destination, with approximately 35,000 Israelis visiting India each year for tourism, business and other purposes. Approximately 40,000 Indians also visit Israel every year.
Since 2012, Israel has been offering post-doctoral scholarships to students from India and China. Since then, 300 out of almost 400 fellowships have been awarded to Indian students.
Joint statement between two countries:
India &Iserel represent two cradles of civilizations that have nurtured their respective heritages over the centuries, the two leaders affirmed their intention to build a broad-based relationship that will realise the full potential of their association. In doing so, they recognized that throughout history, the Jewish Communities have always had a home in India and have been treated with warmth and respect.
Reviewing the development of the relationship after a quarter century of diplomatic ties, the two leaders agreed on initiatives and policies that would reflect the goals and aspirations of both nations and widen their collaborative endeavours in a broad range of areas. They visualized that the two countries will become close partners in development, technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, defence and security.
Recognizing its centrality for development, India and Israel agreed to establish a “Strategic Partnership in Water and Agriculture”. This will focus on water conservation, waste-water treatment and its reuse for agriculture, desalination, water utility reforms, and the cleaning of the Ganges and other rivers using advanced water technologies. It will also include the reinforcement and expansion of the existing Centres of Excellence (COE) under the stewardship of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MASHAV) and the Ministry of Agriculture of India to promote commercially viable business models involving Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs); the provision of quality planting material; and the transfer of post-harvest technical know-how and market linkages involving the private sector through PPP, B2B & other models. The two leaders also agreed on the establishment of a Joint Working Group to steer this Partnership.
The two Prime Ministers noted the importance of realizing the full potential of bilateral trade and investment. They tasked the India-Israel CEO Forum to come up with early recommendations in this regard. Both leaders underlined the need to boost bilateral cooperation in innovation and entrepreneurship and called for greater collaboration in the field of start-ups.
Recognizing the importance of facilitating movement of businessmen and women, India and Israel underlined their expectation that the granting of multiple entry visas to business people for up to five years will encourage greater economic and commercial exchanges.
The two Prime Ministers agreed that negotiations would be conducted on an agreement for the Protection of Investments in order to encourage bilateral investments from both sides.
The two Prime Ministers welcomed the conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding for establishing the India-Israel Industrial R&D and Innovation Fund (I4F) by the Department of Science and Technology, India and the National Authority for Technological Innovation, Israel with a contribution of US$ 20 million from each side. This MoU will play a seminal role in enabling Indian and Israeli enterprises to undertake joint R&D projects leading to development of innovative technologies and products that have potential for commercial application.
Recognising the importance of fostering wide ranging knowledge-business partnership for industries, R&D institutions and government agencies from both countries, Israel warmly welcomed India’s offer to be the “Partner Country” for the annual Technology Summit to be held in India in 2018.
Both leaders welcomed the ongoing cooperation between the Israel Space Agency (ISA) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). They expressed satisfaction over the signing of three MoUs and Plan of Cooperation in the areas of Cooperation in Atomic Clocks; GEO-LEO Optical Link; Academic collaboration and Electric propulsion for small satellites which would further enhance cooperation between the two countries. They also encouraged the two Space Agencies to further enhance the growing relationship for mutual benefit. The two leaders acknowledged that the recent launching by ISRO of an Israeli nano satellite is an important milestone in this arena.
The Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction that both sides have agreed to upgrade their scientific and technological collaboration by supporting joint research and development projects in the cutting edge areas, including ‘Big Data Analytics in Health Care’. They directed the India-Israel Joint Committee on Science and Technology to explore the possibility of further advancement of scientific collaboration including setting up of Networked Centres of Research Excellence in the cutting edge areas of mutual strength and interest.
Reaffirming the importance of bilateral defence cooperation over the years, it was agreed that future developments in this sphere should focus on joint development of defence products, including transfer of technology from Israel, with a special emphasis on the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
India and Israel are committed to promote security and stability in cyberspace on both the governmental and private levels. The Prime Ministers emphasized the importance of enhanced dialogue between their national cyber authorities and expressed their commitment to expand and accelerate their cooperation in this sphere including laying a mutual roadmap for its implementation. Both sides also recognise the value of enhancing and further institutionalising their broad-based cooperation on cyber issues through a Framework for cooperation in the area of cyber security.
Recognizing that terrorism poses a grave threat to global peace and stability, the two Prime Ministers reiterated their strong commitment to combat it in all its forms and manifestations. They stressed that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever. The leaders asserted that strong measures should be taken against terrorists, terror organizations, their networks and all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism, or provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups. They also underscored the need to ensure that terrorist organizations do not get access to any WMD or technologies. Both leaders also committed to cooperate for the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).
Both leaders reaffirmed their commitments as envisaged in the agreement on cooperation on Homeland and Public Security and encouraged the various Working Groups to implement the agreement in an efficient and effective manner.
The two Prime Ministers underlined the importance of enhanced collaboration in the field of Higher Education and Research and agreed to promote this through relevant agreements and the Joint Research Grant Programme.
Noting the importance of growing people to people contacts between India and Israel, the two leaders agreed to facilitate the promotion of travel & tourism in both directions, including through the further enhancement of air links between India and Israel.
Appreciating the contribution of the Jewish community in India and Jews of Indian origin in Israel in bringing the two societies closer, Prime Minister Modi announced the opening of an Indian Cultural Centre in Israel. This was warmly welcomed by Prime Minister Netanyahu who expressed his deep respect for Indian culture and recalled Israel’s strong support and sponsorship of PM Modi’s initiative to promote the practice of Yoga by designating June 21 as International Yoga Day.
The two Prime Ministers recognized the contribution of Indian care-givers in Israel and expressed their intention to reach a mutually agreed-upon arrangement which will provide for their continued arrival in a regulated manner.
The two Prime Ministers discussed the developments pertaining to the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process. They underlined the need for the establishment of a just and durable peace in the region. They reaffirmed their support for an early negotiated solution between the sides based on mutual recognition and security arrangements
During the visit, the following Agreements were signed:
The key to the growing India-Israel ties, however, is in the realm of security and defense. In the early 2000s, the Indian army declared its intention to implement a modernization program to which resources of tens of billions of dollars would be allocated. Since then, defense deals with Israel have grown exponentially – today, India is the number one export target of Israel’s defense industries.