India, Israel elevate ties to strategic partnership

06 July 2017

India and Israel have decided to expand their relationship beyond defence to a wider spectrum covering key sectors like space, agriculture and water conservation so as to make it more strategic and mutually beneficial.

The two countries also pledged to do "much more together" to combat growing radicalisation and terrorism while pitching for strong action against those financing and providing sanctuaries to terror groups.

India, Israel sign seven agreements following delegation-level talks headed by PM Modi, Benjamin Netanyahu

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Department of Science and Technology and Israel's National Technological Innovation Authority proposes setting up of a $40 million India-Israel Industrial Research and Development (R&D) and Technical Innovation Fund.

They also agreed on cooperation between the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) in developing atomic clocks.

Besides, Isro and ISA signed separate MoUs for cooperation in GEO-LEO optical link, and in electric propulsion for small satellites.

In the water sector, the countries signed two agreements to increase cooperation on water conservation and state water utility reform in India.

Ministry of drinking water and sanitation and Israel's ministry of national infrastructure, energy and water resources signed the agreement on National Campaign for Water Conservation in India.

Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam and the ministry of national infrastructure, energy and water resources also signed a similar agreement on State Water Utility Reform in India.

In the agriculture sector, the two countries have agreed upon a three-year programme of development cooperation from 2018 to 2020.

Addressing the media along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after one-on-one and delegation level talks, Modi said: "We are of one view that together our scientists and researchers would develop, build and implement mutually beneficial solutions in the field".

"Our decision to establish a bilateral technology innovation fund worth $40 million for research in industrial development will help us in achieving this goal. We regard thriving two-way trade and investment flows as the bedrock of a strong partnership. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I agreed on the need to do more in this direction. Businesses on both sides should take primary lead in such efforts," he said.

Modi noted that Israel is among the leading nations in the field of innovation, water and agricultural technology and "these are also among my priority areas in India's development".

"We agreed that efficiency of water and resource use; water conservation and its purification, productivity increases in agriculture are key areas in deepening our bilateral cooperation," he said.

PM Modi also said that during their talks he and Netanyahu agreed to to do much more together to combat terrorism to protect their strategic interests.

On his part, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said he had a feeling that India and Israel were today changing "our world and may be changing parts of the world.

"Because this is the cooperation, it is a marriage really made in heaven but we are really implementing here on the earth," he said.

The Israeli leader also talked about cooperation in fields of water, agriculture and health and said these affected the lives of people.

"PM Modi and I like to have our feet connected. We try to look to the distance but our feet firmly planted on the ground. We have empowered ourselves to bring concrete plans in diverse areas by 1 January," he pointed out.

He said they also talked about cooperation in third countries, including Africa.

A joint statement issued after the talks said, "Strong measures should be taken against terrorists and terror organisations and all those who encourage, support and finance or provide sanctury to terrorists and terror groups".

It also said that "this historic first-ever visit by an Indian PM to Israel solidified the enduring friendship between their peoples and raised the bilateral relationship to that of a strategic partnership".

 search domain-b