Moving beyond intricate chessboard of geopolitics in West Asia, India and Israel are set to fashion a robust partnership of the future, revolving around technology and innovation during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s maiden trip to the Asian country.
Days before Mr Netanyahu’s visit, India had voted against the unilateral declaration of Jerusalem by the US in the UN, triggering speculation about New Delhi’s commitment to taking the India-Israeli relationship forward. Now these apprehensions have been dispelled as the Israeli leader began his six-day visit to India on January 14, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally receiving his “friend” at the airport. Ahead of his visit, Mr Netanyahu had clarified that although he was disappointed, one vote won’t affect this relationship of the future.
Setting an upbeat tone for the visit, Mr Netanyahu, who is fond of calling Mr Modi “mere dost” (my friend), described India-Israel relations as “a marriage made in heaven, but consecrated on earth.”These warm sentiments, underpinned by a soaring vision of India-Israel relationship, were reaffirmed eloquently during the conversation between the two leaders at the private dinner hosted by Mr Modi at his official residence.
“Together, we will bring the relations between our two countries to new heights,” Mr Netanyahu tweeted after his arrival, the first visit by an Israeli prime minister in 14 years.India and Israel are set to sign at least 10 business and industry-related pacts, besides several inter-governmental pacts in diverse areas, including agriculture, technology and innovation.
Innovation will be the guiding framework for the Israeli prime minister’s visit and the future of India-Israel relations, said Israeli ambassador to India Daniel Carmon.Israel plans to invest around $68 million over the next four years to upscale cooperation in trade, technology, tourism, agriculture and innovation.
Moving ahead, the overarching thrust of India-Israel relations will be on diversifying a defence and security-focused relationship into a more vibrant and multi-faceted strategic partnership, which will be driven by technology, innovation and start-up ecosystems.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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