India-Israel ties strong for three decades

The economic relations, once dominated by three Ds – i.e., defense, diamonds and drip irrigation – are now driven by hi-tech, cyber security, innovation and mobility

A municipal worker cleans the street in front of a bilboard displaying Indian and Israeli flags for PM Netanyahu's visit, Ahmedabad, India, January 2018 (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIT DAVE)
A municipal worker cleans the street in front of a bilboard displaying Indian and Israeli flags for PM Netanyahu's visit, Ahmedabad, India, January 2018
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIT DAVE)

This year, Israel and India are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their full diplomatic relations. In the last three decades, bilateral trade has increased from $200 million in 1992 to over $7.86 billion in 2021-22. It is expected to rise sharply once the free trade agreement is concluded.

The economic relations, once dominated by three Ds – i.e., defense, diamonds and drip irrigation – are now driven by hi-tech, cyber security, innovation and mobility.

India is attractive to Israeli businessmen

India’s emergence as one of the fastest-growing major economies  – its democratic character and its maturing relations with the US and the Arab Gulf –  makes it an attractive proposition for Israeli businesses. More direct flights and opening of new routes with the Gulf airlines have significantly increased tourism in both directions. The launch of the I2U2 group has multiplied the avenues of cooperation. It addresses the issue of financing the use of cutting-edge Israeli technologies in the price-sensitive Indian market.

The Israeli TV series Fauda is wildly popular in India, which spawned an Indian remake, Taanav. The road is paved  for more collaboration in the areas of cinema and entertainment. Indians have become the largest contingent of foreign students studying in Israel.

 Lior Raz and Lucy Ayoub of 'Fauda.' (credit: Elia Spinopolos/Yes) Lior Raz and Lucy Ayoub of 'Fauda.' (credit: Elia Spinopolos/Yes)

Start-up entrepreneurs from Israel and India are extremely successful in Silicon Valley, and they get along well with each other due to numerous common values. It has a spillover effect. A number of delegations of Indian CEOs and Family Offices have started visiting Israel on a regular basis. The successful bid by India’s Adani Group and Israel’s Gadot Group to purchase Haifa port has paved a way for cooperation on large infrastructure projects.

The writer, a political commentator at ‘Mumbai Tarun Bharat’ and an international affairs columnist, is based in Mumbai.