The Indo-Israel relations underwent hiccups when India voted against United States’ decision to make Jerusalem the capital of Israel, but it seems both the countries are over the past as they signed nine agreements on Monday including on Homeopathy and Cybersecurity to take forward the trade ties beyond diamond and defence.
The agreements were signed following delegation-level talks headed by Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu in New Delhi. Interestingly, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Sunday, called Indo-Israel relationship a “marriage made in heaven”, and assured that one UN vote will not affect the ties between the two countries, which last year celebrated 25 years of diplomatic relations.
The nine agreements signed between the two countries will take Indo-Isreal trade ties beyond diamond and defence as proposed by Israel in 2007. Israel had proposed negotiations on a free trade agreement with India, which was accepted by India in 2010 then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Israel in 1992, trade ties have comprised primarily of diamonds.
While India’s exports to Israel in areas other than diamonds have increased over the years, diamonds continued to constitute around 49% of the bilateral trade in the year 2010. Besides diamond, the defence has also been important for both countries.
India is Israel’s biggest arms market, buying around $1 billion worth of weapons every year. However, India had cancelled $500 million order to Israel’s state-owned defence contractor Rafael for home-made anti-tank missiles, which Israel is confident of solving.
Here is the list of MoUs/Agreements signed between India and Israel:
1. MoU on Cybersecurity Cooperation between India and Israel
2. MoU between the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Ministry of Energy on Cooperation in Oil and Gas Sector
3. Protocol between India and Israel on Amendments to the Air Transport Agreement
4. Agreement on Film-co-production between India and Israel
5. MoU between the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy, Ministry of AYUSH and the Centre for Integrative Complementary Medicine, Shaare Zedek Medical Center on Cooperation in the field of Research in Homeopathic Medicine
6. MoU between Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) and the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology for cooperation in the field of space
7. Memorandum of Intent between Invest India and Invest in Israel
8. Letter of Intent between IOCL and Phinergy Ltd. For cooperation in the area of metal-air batteries
9. Letter of Intent between IOCL and Yeda Research and Development Co Ltd for cooperation in the area of concentrated solar thermal technologies
Israel will also invest $68.6 million to boost cooperation with India in areas like tourism, technology, agriculture and innovation over a period of four years. The commitment is in addition to the India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund of $40 million over five years.
Earlier on Monday, the Israeli Prime Minister was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Benjamin Netanyahu, accompanied by a 130-member business delegation, arrived here on Sunday on a six-day visit to India. The Israeli Prime Minister will also visit Agra, Ahmedabad and Mumbai. This is the first Prime Ministerial visit from Israel to India in 15 years after that of Ariel Sharon in 2003.