‘India is perfect testing ground for Israeli companies’

Indian Communications, Information Technology and Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal addresses hi-tech CEOs in Tel Aviv.

Indian flag_311 reuters (photo credit: Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters)
Indian flag_311 reuters
(photo credit: Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters)
Israeli companies that succeed in providing a solution for India open a gateway to the entire world, Indian Communications, Information Technology and Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal told hi-tech CEOs in Tel Aviv Thursday.
“Every consumer in the world wants the highest quality product at the cheapest possible price,” Sibal said. He explained that nowhere was this principle more applicable than in India, where per capita income is still far lower than in the Western markets to which Israeli firms usually export their products.
“In a sense, if you are able to provide a solution for India you are providing a global solution for your product,” he said. “A solution which suits [India’s] 1.2 billion people can access 6b. people around the world.”
Several leading Israeli hi-tech companies in fields such as informational technology and telecommunications made presentations to the minister on Thursday.
The companies included Gilat Satellite Networks, Tower Jazz, Verint Systems, Altal Security, Tower Vision, San Disk and Forescout.
Sibal said the Indian government would give preferential treatment to foreign companies specializing in electronics manufacturing and security. He added that the state aims to “indigenize” its electronics sector to the extent that more than 60 percent of products will be locally manufactured by the year 2020.
Western companies must change their mindset if they want to gain a foothold in the Indian market – beginning with the establishment of centers in India itself – the minister argued. Pointing out that the country was home to a middle class of 300 million people, he said: “If you want to solve the problem, you have to be where the problem is. You can’t solve it by looking at technology from 3,000km. away.”
Sibal’s brief visit to Israel included meetings with President Shimon Peres and several government ministers. He, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Education Minister Gideon Saar agreed in principle to launch a three-year, $30m. program to enhance academic cooperation, and facilitate mutually beneficial research.
The program will be coordinated by the Israel Science Foundation and India’s University Grants Commission, and the first call for proposals is expected to be published in December.
Areas for cooperation will include renewable and sustainable energies, biomedical sciences, cyber-security and social sciences.