Namaste, Shalom: EAM S Jaishankar, Israeli Foreign Minister Lapid hail strong India-Israel ties
The two sides work closely in diverse areas like agriculture, innovation and security
As India and Israel mark three decades since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid have written a joint Op-Ed article highlighting key facets of the relationship.
"We are two ancient civilizations of storytellers, but we are also two young and energetic democracies motivated by openness towards innovation and the ability to connect with other cultures," Jaishankar and Lapid have pointed out.
"From agriculture and water management to innovation and security, the two countries share knowledge, projects, and most importantly a vision for the future. In recent months, they have also partnered in a unique diplomatic dialogue with the US and UAE," the two ministers say in the article, which has been published in The Times of India.
The article highlights that agriculture is one of the main cornerstones of India-Israel cooperation.
"Israel's arid climate and lack of water sources have brought it to the forefront of identifying innovative solutions to challenges in agriculture and water management. The size of India's population creates daily challenges which the world has a hard time imagining. And so today, agricultural cooperation between us is unprecedented. Together, we're operating 29 "Indo-Israel Centers of Excellence" across India. Companies are engaged in crop diversification, solar energy, increasing productivity, and efficient water use," the article says.
The joint Op-Ed article also speaks about the growing engagement between India and Israel when it comes to security.
"Another element of our relationship is security. Here too, our partnership is growing and deepening. Recently, we've participated together in the "Blue Flag" aerial exercise in the skies above the Negev Desert in Israel. We share operational knowledge, work together to find solutions for regional challenges, and cooperate in counterterrorism. The terror attack in Mumbai in 2008 was a stark reminder of the common threats we face," they wrote.
The economic and trade cooperation between the two countries has also come in for special mention.
"India is one of Israel's most important economic partners. We are an ideal duo. The industrial capabilities and technological know-how of young Indians, in combination with the unique technological savvy of their Israeli counterparts, create tremendous potential for mutual prosperity. Over the years, we have witnessed significant growth in our commercial ties. Israeli start-ups and entrepreneurs, large Indian companies, and our programmers and IT specialists are becoming natural partners," the article notes.
The article also makes the point that Israel is the original "Start-Up Nation" while India has the third-largest start-up ecosystem in the world.
"Precisely because of this, we've established a fund for advanced technological innovation in water, agriculture, healthcare, energy, and communications. At the same time, the number of Indian students and researchers in Israel is increasing all the time," the two ministers have pointed out.
The article notes that new relationships in the region are already bearing economic fruit and herald a strategic change in the Middle East whose ripples are reaching India. "This past year we harnessed those new relationships into a new quad group with India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the United States coming together to lead joint projects and increase business collaboration," Jaishankar and Lapid say.
The article refers to the meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Naftali Bennett in Glasgow in November last year, where they emphasized "the importance of our relationship and welcomed our fruitful cooperation. And just three months ago, the two of us met in Israel and discussed our vision for the future".
"We agreed to begin negotiations on a free trade agreement and to work even more closely in significant areas such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing while deepening our existing cooperation," the article says.