Indian billionaire Ratan Tata to attend Israeli auto-tech conference

During a previous visit to Israel in 2013, Tata signed an agreement with the Israel Aerospace Industry to collaborate in developing defense and aerospace products.

Ratan Tata  (photo credit: DANISH SIDDIQUI/ REUTERS)
Ratan Tata
One of India’s richest men, Ratan Tata, owner of the multi-billion dollar Tata Group, is set to visit the Holy Land in October to attend the Prime Minister’s Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Summit.
The two-day Tel Aviv conference, hosted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, brings together leading automakers to present research on alternative fuels and how to disrupt transportation fields, along with discussing future business models.
Tata’s trip comes on the heels of the first ever visit by an Indian prime minister to Israel, Narendra Modi, who made a historic three-day trip in July. It is a sign as to the burgeoning business and diplomatic ties between the largest democracy in the world and the Jewish state.
Tata’s visit also signals that the Indian automaker is looking to adopt Israeli auto-technology, which includes cutting-edge R&D on artificial intelligence, driverless cars, and sensors.
Israelis in the automobile and defense industries said that Tata’s trip was “very unusual” but signals his “great interest” in Israel, according to the Israeli business daily Globes.
“This is increasing Indian business’s knowledge as to opportunities in Israel. Since Modi’s visit, I’ve seen great growth interest from Indian businesspeople and now leading Indian software, entertainment and media delegations are planning on coming to Israel,” said Anat Bernstein-Reich, chairwoman of the Israel-India Chamber of Commerce.
During a previous visit to Israel in 2013, Tata signed an agreement with Israel Aerospace Industries to collaborate in developing defense and aerospace products including missiles, UAVs, radars, electronic warfare systems, and homeland security systems. For at least a decade, Tata Motors has had a number of security contracts with Israel Aerospace Industries.
“We believe the coming together of Tata and Israel Aerospace Industries will positively impact the growth of the defense industry in India,” Tata said during a previous memorandum of understanding signing with the Israeli contractor.
The Tata Group has donated millions of dollars to Tel Aviv University’s Technology Innovation Momentum Fund, along with establishing a separate technology incubator on campus with a group of Israeli venture capital firms. Typically with corporate-academic partnerships, the company gets first right-of-refusal, which means Tata Group is allowed to market and profit from the invention first. Some of those fields include the “Internet of Things” or smart devices, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and clean-tech.
Tata Motors, a company in the Tata conglomerate, owns the Jaguar-Land Rover automaker and has a strategic relationship with the Fiat Group, which produces both Fiat and Tata cars and Fiat trains. The motor company, which is a major producer of electric cars, had revenues of $40 billion in 2016.
According to Globes, other automakers expected to be represented at the summit include the chairmen of SEAT and Lamborghini, the head of Volkswagen’s smart transportation division, senior executives from Ford, BMW, Delphi, and Nvidia and Chinese mangers from transportation firm Didi and Internet giant Baidu.
The fifth annual international Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility summit seeks to promote India’s goal of reducing by 60% the country’s oil consumption by 2025, conference organizers said. At the summit, Netanyahu will award the 2017 Samson Prime Minister’s prize for a breakthrough in alternative fuels.
The conference will be held from October 31 to November 1 at the Habima National Theater in Tel Aviv.