This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by IndiaSpend. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why Israel Matters To India (And Modi)

More from IndiaSpend

By Chaitanya Mallapur:

When Narendra Modi makes a trip to Israel sometime later this year, he will be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit, formalising a relationship often conducted behind closed doors, clandestine meetings and secret agreements.

The announcement is already generating heat, with some criticising it, others urging caution–with one commentator suggesting a counter-balancing visit to Israeli arch-enemy Iran–and some seeing it as an inevitable corollary to the convergence of the ideologies of Hindutva and Likud, a political movement (rooted in the free market and Jewish culture) that coalesced into a political party.

Image credit: PIB
Image credit: PIB

While India recognised Israel on September 17, 1950–a year after it voted against United Nations’ membership for the Jewish state–full diplomatic ties were established only in 1992, the reticence flowing from India’s traditional backing for the Palestinian cause.

Since then, in the public eye, relationships have been defined by defence deals and the 38,000 mostly young Israelis who visit India each year to de-stress after their compulsory two-three years of military service. The traffic isn’t all one-way though, more than 40,000 Indians visited Israel in 2013, the largest number of tourists from an Asian country.

Business and technological ties are also growing, and India and Israel recently agreed to set up a $40 million India-Israel cooperation fund to promote joint scientific and technological collaborations.

Here are five things that define the India-Israel relationship today:

1. Defence

There is no getting away from the defence relationship. Israel is India’s fifth-largest source of arms, with imports worth $0.21 billion in 2013-14 and $10 billion (Rs 59,670 crore) over the past decade.

Source: Lok Sabha; Figures in US $ billion.

The earliest signs of collaboration came during the 1962 Sino-Indian war, when Israel gave India military aid. Israel also aided India during the two wars with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971, according to this article in the Stanford Journal of International Relations.

India reciprocated during the Six-Day War in 1967 by providing Israel with spare parts for Mystere and Ouragan aircraft, as well as AX-13 tanks, the Stanford report said.

The highlight of the partnership was Israel’s supply of artillery shells during the Kargil war, when India faced a shortage.

In the late 1990s, a crucial defence deal was the Indian purchase of Barak 1, an air-defence missile, bought specifically for its capability to intercept US-made Harpoon missiles deployed by Pakistan.

India’s imports of unarmed vehicles (UAVs) have almost all been from Israel. Of 176 UAVs purchased from Israel, 108 are Searcher UAVs and 68 are Heron UAVs, as IndiaSpend has reported.

Israel has also pledged support to the ‘Make in India’ mission in the defence sector.

Other major deals include the jointly-developed Barak 8 anti-ship-missile missile, which the Indian Navy will be testing soon, and the SPYDER missile system, which the Indian Air Force is procuring to counter aerial threats at low altitude. India and Israel also closely cooperate on anti-terror activities and have signed agreements, among other matters, on homeland and public security and protection of classified materials and information.

2. Diplomacy

Several ministerial and high-level official visits to Israel precede Modi’s forthcoming tour. These include visits by L.K Advani, former Home Minister, in 2000 and Home Minister Rajnath Singh in November 2014.

Both countries have signed several bilateral agreements since 1992, which include cooperation in agriculture, research and development, economy and industry and security.

Source: Embassy of India in Israel /Embassy of Israel in India

3. Agriculture

This has been an important facet in the Indo-Israel relationship. India has benefited from Israel’s expertise in the sector, evident from the number of bilateral agreements signed between the two nations.

While Indian agriculture is largely dependent on rain and an erratic monsoon, Israel, a global leader in drip irrigation, has pioneered desert agriculture with sparse supplies of water.

India has benefited from Israeli technologies in horticulture mechanisation, protected cultivation, orchard and canopy management, nursery management, micro- irrigation and post-harvest management, particularly in Haryana and Maharashtra.

An Indo-Israel agriculture action plan unfolded between 2008 and 2010, extended until 2015, providing “centres of excellence” in eight states, to showcase the latest technologies to grow fruits, vegetables and flowers.

Source: Lok Sabha Figures in Rs crore

Nearly ten India-Israel centres of excellence for cooperation in agriculture have been set-up so far,of the 30 expected by 2015.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently visited Israel, seeking agro-technology to address the farming crisis in the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions.

4. Water Management

Technologically adept Israel has developed water-management technologies, located as it is in a semi-arid region with limited sources of fresh drinking water.

Israel’s expertise includes recycling waste water and desalination. Indian companies and official delegations regularly visit the biannual Water Technology & Environment Control Exhibition & Conference, which showcases Israel’s water and energy technologies.

IDE, an Israeli company, has built several desalination plants in India, including a 100-million-litre per day desalination plant at Nemelli in Tamil Nadu, commissioned in 2013, the second such plant in Chennai.

5. Trade

India’s total trade with Israel is $6.06 billion (Rs 36,160 crore) in 2013-14, up 57% over 2009-10. The trade balance stood in India’s favour at $ 1.44 billion (Rs 8,592 crore)in 2013-14.

Source: Ministry of Commerce; Figures in $ billion; NA-Not Available

Mineral fuels and oils are India’s leading export to Israel worth $1.45 billion in 2013-14.

India’s major imports from Israel in 2013-14 included natural or cultured pearls and precious stones, worth $1.20 billion. Stones and pearls are the second-largest commodity, in terms of value, exported to Israel from India after mineral fuels.

Indo-Israel trade in diamonds increased 98% from $1.25 billion in 2009 to $2.48 billion in 2013.

Source: Embassy of India in Israel; Figures in $ billion

Nearly 40 diamond dealers from India have opened offices at the Israeli diamond exchange in Ramat-Gan. Some of these dealers have been active in Israel for nearly 30-40 years.

Since 2010, the two countries have been negotiating a free-trade agreement for goods and services, which should boost investments and trade ties.

Israel ranks 44th in terms of foreign direct investment in India, investing $82 million between April 2000 and February 2015.

This article was originally published by IndiaSpend.

newsletter-banner-1

You must be to comment.

More from IndiaSpend

Similar Posts

By Vaishnavi Gond

By Ajay Amitabh Suman

By shakeel ahmad

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below