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Highlights of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India

Context:

  • The recent visit of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s to India is a long-anticipated moment in the journey of friendship between India and Israel.
  • It is to be noted that visit comes days after India voted against Israel at the UN on the Jerusalem issue.

Background:

  • 2006: Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Israel in 2006 as the then Chief Minister of Gujarat.
  • 2017: In July, 2017 the Indian Prime Minister visited Israel.
  • Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel.
  • 2018: On 14th January, 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a six day visit to India.
  • The Israeli leader’s visit to India is only the second by an Israeli Prime Minister and comes after a gap of 15 years.
  • Former prime minister Ariel Sharon had visited India in 2003.

What are the major takeaways from Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India?

Both the Prime ministers reviewed the progress relations and renewed conversation on the possibilities and the opportunities that can be seized. The major takeaways from the conversation are as follows:

Strengthen existing cooperation:

  • The two countries will strengthen the existing pillars of cooperation in areas that touch the lives of our peoples.
  • These are agriculture, science and technology, and security.

Launch of ‘India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (i4F)’:

  • The maiden call for joint R&D projects under the ‘India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (i4F)’ was launched.
  • This Fund is to be utilized over a period of 5 years, in pursuit of path-breaking technological solutions that can be commercially exploited.

Scaling up Centers of Excellence:

  • Views were exchanged on scaling up the Centers of Excellence that have been a main-stay of agricultural cooperation by bringing in advanced Israeli practices and technology.

Venture of FDI regime:

  • In defence, India has invited Israeli companies to take advantage of the liberalized FDI regime to make more in Indian companies.

Venture of less explored areas of cooperation:

  • The two countries are venturing into less explored areas of cooperation, such as oil& gas, cyber security, films, and start-ups.
  • This can be reflected in the agreements that were exchanged, several of these areas are indicative of the desire to diversify and broad-base engagement.

Facilitate flow of people and ideas:

  • The two countries committed to facilitating the flow of people and ideas between the geographies.
  • It requires policy facilitation, infrastructure and connectivity links and fostering constituencies of support beyond Government.
  • India is working with Israel to make it easier for people of to work and visit each other’s countries, including for longer work durations.

Indian Cultural Center will be opened:

  • To bring people closer on both sides, an Indian Cultural Center will soon open in Israel.

Annual exchange of bilateral visits:

  • An annual exchange of bilateral visits by 100 young people from science-related educational streams has also been started.

Successful two-way trade and investment:

  • Thriving two-way trade and investment is an integral part of the bilateral vision for a strong partnership.
  • India welcomes the large business component that Prime Minister Netanyahu has brought along with him.

Perspectives on the regional and global situation:

  • Perspectives on the regional and global situation were also been exchanged.
  • The two countries reviewed cooperation as a factor for stability and peace in our regions and the world.

Discussions on the India-Israel Innovation and Technology Conclave:

  • Discussions on The India-Israel Innovation and Technology Conclave were held which is going to be held in India in July 2018.
  • This Conclave will spur co–development of new technologies.

Can Israel prove to be one of the strongest supports for India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative?

  • Yes, Israel is universally known as the Start-up nation with a unique eco-system for innovation and incubation.
  • Whether it is Water Tech, or Agri-Tech, or it is food production, or processing or conservation, Israel has been a shining example with new breakthrough and advances.
  • Whether it is physical or virtual security; whether it is on land, water or space; Israel technology has won admiration.
  • The India-Israel Innovation Bridge will act as a link between the Start-ups of the two sides.
  • Indian Industries, start-ups and the academic institutions must collaborate with their Israeli counterparts to access the huge reservoir of knowledge.

Progress so far:

  • Several Israeli companies have joined hands with Indian companies for making in India.
  • Many others, especially those with advanced water technologies and agri techniques, defence and security systems, and pharma knowledge have a foot-hold in India.
  • Similarly, Indian companies have significant presence in several sectors in Israel like IT, Irrigation and Pharma.
  • Diamond remains a strong link in trade between the two countries.

Conclusion:

  • The significant visit of the Israeli Prime Minister is certainly the dawn of a new era in friendship between India and Israel.
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