PM Narendra Modi in Israel: Much hype has been created over the possible defence deals India and Israel may negotiate during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to the Jewish nation. However, as both countries seek to establish ties that can help them walk into the future, weapons deal may just be a small part of the talks between the premiers of the two democratic nations.
Defence deals with Israel is not something India would have to negotiate hard with the Jewish nation if the need arises. Israel has historically provided weapons to India whenever the latter faced a war. Both countries are strategic partners, with reports suggesting Israel is India’s largest arms supplier in the world. In April this year, PTI reported that India has signed a US $2 billion missile deal with Israel’s state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries. As part of the deal, Israel would supply advanced medium-range surface-to-air missile systems (MRSAM) as well as additional long-range air and missile defence systems (LRSAM) for the first locally produced Indian aircraft carrier. For the deal, Israel also agreed to share technology and partner with local Indian companies under PM Modi’s ‘Make In India’ initiative.
The enormity of the defence deal done in April this year shows PM Modi’s visit to Isreal would be much more than getting weapons. Modi’s visit marks a break from India’s past approach towards Israel and the beginning of a new phase of relationship between two countries sharing similar troubles as well as vision for the future.
PM Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu are expected to discuss on three crucial subjects — water & agriculture, cyber security and space technology — that would matter the most in the future and also help in making both countries permanent partners.
Water management and space technology
India’s ambassador to Israel Pavan Kapoor told The Indian Express on Sunday that the “formal coming out of the relationship” would focus on “development” and the agenda would include cooperation in “agriculture, water, science and technology, and innovation.”
Israel is one of the world’s leading country in agri and water management technology. From being a water deprived country to being a water exporter, Israel has taken innovation in this field to a new level and India needs the country to solve its own water woes.
Soon after landing in Israel, PM Modi would visit an agriculture farm where he will be shown innovative technology, known in Israel as ‘precision agriculture’. PM Modi will also be shown innovative Israeli water management, treatment and purification technologies. PM Modi acknowledged this in the interview to Israel Hayom on Monday, saying, “The way you transformed yourself from being a water-deficient country to a water-surplus country; the manner in which you made your deserts bloom, are all amazing accomplishments. All these images have made a deep imprint on my mind.”
Israel is also one of the biggest technological powerhouse of the world. PM Modi acknowledged in the interview, “I share the view of many of my fellow citizens about Israel. In India, Israel is perceived as a technological powerhouse, and a country that has braved many odds. Many tech-based inventions have their roots in Israeli universities and laboratories and have benefited humankind. These include articles ranging from USB flash drives to cherry tomatoes.”
During Modi’s Israel visit, India would seek to take cooperation in space tech and cyber security to a new level. A top Israeli official told PTI on Monday that both countries would sign deals to deepen cooperation on the state-of-the-art technologies in the space sector, Israel Space Agency Director General Avi Blasberger told the agency, “We are going to sign some implementation agreements. Actually we have an agreement between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Israel Space Agency (ISA), a cooperation agreement, and these agreements that we are going to sign during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi are implementation agreements which will be added to the main agreement.”
Watch Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and then Israeli PM Ariel Sharon on India-Israel relations
— ANI (@ANI_news) July 3, 2017
Cyber security will also be on top of PM Modi’s agenda as the severity of cyber attacks across the globe has increased recently. Addressing Cyber Week 2017 conference in Tel Aviv University, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, that PM Modi wants close cooperation with Israel in many areas including in cyber security. “For example, there is going to be a visit of Prime Minister of India, one of the most important Prime minister’s of the world, with the third largest economy in the world growing very fast. He wants close cooperation with Israel in many fields — water, agriculture, health and also in cyber. And he has a good reason to do so,” the Israeli Prime Minister told the gathering in Hebrew as per a video released by his office.