India and Israel enjoy an extensive economic, military and strategic relationship.And this includes joint military training and space technology also. Just for example, Israel is the second-largest deference partner of India after Russia and India is the largest importer of equipment.
In fact India imports for almost fifty per cent of total sales of Israeli Military equipment. In the area of science and technology, India and Israel have agreed to go in for a new comprehensive agreement for cooperation. This will spell out the common agenda, methodology, joint technology development and up gradation of technology. The two sides are now busy preparing a Plan of Action, identifying the joint projects to be taken up besides other activities for implementation during the next two years. Israel is keen on cooperation in Nano-technology, Nano-biotechnology and solar energy.
Cooperation in space technology and applications is being discussed at various levels. Israel is interested in India launching some of its micro-satellites. And for this, the Israeli delegation has already visited Bangalore for talks with ISRO authorities. The Space Agencies of the two countries have signed a MoU on TAUVEXGSAT- 4, which off ers a unique opportunity to put the Indian and Israeli scientists in the front line of space-astrophysics. The TAUVEX is a set of three wide-fi eld telescopes that will image the ultraviolet sky. It was specifi cally recognised that installing TAUVEX on-board the technology demonstrator satellite GSAT-4 would be ideal for operating TAUVEX as a scientifi cpayload in geo-synchronous orbit.
If we talk about economic relations, India-Israel two-way trade in 2012 (Jan-Dec) stood at US$4.44 billion, including trade in diamonds. India’s exports from Israel amounted to US$1.93 bln and India’s imports from Israel were worth US$2.50 bln. And interestingly Diamonds continue to be an important segment of total bilateral trade. India was Israel’s 9th largest trade partner and Israel’s 3rd largest trade partner in Asia after China and Hong Kong (trade data includes Diamonds).
India is also the second-largest Asian economic partner of Israel. In 2010, bilateral trade, excluding military sales, stood at US $4.7 billion.
Major exports from India to Israel include precious stones and metals, chemical products, textile and textile articles, plants and vegetable products, mineral products, rubber and plastic products, base metals and machinery. In August 2012, India and Israel signed a $50 million academic research agreement. Currently, the two nations are negotiating an extensive bilateral free trade pact, focusing on areas such as information technology, biotechnology and agriculture.
Yes, agriculture is bridging the gap of two nations and bringing the two cultures on common ground of mutual interest. Israel is teaching Indian farmers how to produce ten times more crops from the same area of land in India. It was December 1993 when India and Israel signed a bilateral agreement for cooperation in agriculture. A Joint Committee was set up in 2006 and an inter-Governmental “Work Plan” was signed which was followed by an Action Plan in 2008-2010. A Joint Declaration was signed in May 2011 by Agriculture Ministers of the two countries. Under the bilateral Action Plan for 2012-2015 cooperation has been expanded to seven states including Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Punjab. Nearly 10 India-Israel Centers of Excellence for cooperation in agriculture have been set-up so far. And according to sources, Israel intends to increase this to 28 Centers in future.