These UPA trends and trajectories were to continue under the Modi government which saw Home Minister Rajnath Singh visiting Israel in November 2014 and hosting the first meeting of India-Israel Joint Steering Committee on Homeland Security. Last September, India conducted successful tests on a jointly developed surfaceto-air missile for Indian Navy’s guided missile destroyers. As part of celebrating 25 years of India-Israel diplomatic ties, three destroyer ships of the Indian Navy have already paid friendly port visits to Israel. In April, India signed a $2 billion deal with Israel for purchase of these missiles and in May, India also tested Israel’s Spyder quick reaction surface-to-air missile meant for intercepting and neutralising incoming missiles or drones from across the Pakistan border. And now the two are beginning to focus on countering terrorism which could witness some new initiatives.
No doubt India and Israel have close agricultural cooperation. Currently running their third action plan for 2015-2018, they have created 15 centres of excellence where Indian farmers have become major beneficiaries of Israeli agri-business practices and technologies especially producing hi-productivity, disease resistant crops with micro-irrigation for arid regions of Haryana and Maharashtra. The last decade has also seen several high level visits from both sides. Bilateral trade however has faced difficulties. It shrunk from $6.1 billion for 2012-2013 to $5.6 billion for 20142015. India remains the most preferred destination for Israeli tourists with Indian business travellers and tourists to Israel also increasing. This may increase Israel’s visibility in India creating new constituencies for stronger partnership.
New Delhi continues to camouflage its defence cooperation with Israel by front loading agricultural cooperation as their flagship project defining Indo-Israeli bonhomie.
Source: The Indian Express