India Abroad

Know Why PM Modi's Historic Visit To Israel Is Significant

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| July 4 , 2017 , 15:41 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in Israel, becoming the first prime minister of India to visit the Jewish nation since both countries began their diplomatic relations 25 years ago. The visit of PM Modi is being termed as historic and marks the arrival of a fresh wave of bilateral relations with Israel.

Heralding the importance of the meet, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally welcomed PM Modi from the airport, a courtesy so far extended only to the Pope and US President Donald Trump.

The meeting of the leaders of India and Israel is significant for the following reasons:

Defence

As India is currently focussing on expanding and updating its military arsenal, especially to keep up with neighbouring Pakistan and China, it is importing arms from various nations, particularly US and Russia.

After US and Russia, the third largest source for the import of arms is Israel. During the 4-year period between 2012 and 2016, India imported 68 percent arms from Russia, 14 percent from the US and 7.2 percent from Israel. Almost all of the unarmed aerial vehicles (UAVs) imported by India have come from Israel.

Conversely, India is the top destination for Israel's arms exports, with 41 percent of arms between 2012-2016 being bought by India.  

ALSO READ: Narendra Modi Will Be First Indian PM To Visit Israel

Agriculture

To combat the comparatively hostile environment in Israel, the nation has developed revolutionary technologies to aid agriculture growth, several aspects of which are and will continue to be of great help to India.

An Indo-Israel agriculture plan for 2015-18 is already in place according to which 26 centres of excellence in agriculture are being developed in India where latest Israeli technology will be showcased for Indian farmers. From the total 26 agriculture centres, 15 have already been set up.

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

Water Management

Since Israel is located in a semi-arid region with limited sources of fresh drinking water, the country has used technology to maximize the use of its limited resources, again an area which would be of help to India.

India and Israel had in November 2016 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on water resources management and development cooperation and on June 28, 2017, the Union cabinet approved a MoU with Israel on the National Campaign for Water Conservation in India.

ALSO READ: Israel Strikes Into Gaza Strip In Response To Qassam Rocket Firings 

Trade

Israel is India's 38th largest trading partner with the trade during 2016-2017 reaching $5.02 billion (Rs 33,634 crore). Mineral fuels and oils are India's leading export to Israel while major imports include precious stones, natural and cultured pearls. Nearly 54 percent of the bilateral trade is in diamonds with large numbers of diamond dealers from India having opened offices at the Israeli diamond exchange in Ramat-Gan.

In order to boost trade further, the Israeli government has proposed measures such as "offering export insurance, liberalising the aviation sector and granting longer-term visas" with a goal to boost Israeli exports to India by 25 percent over the next 4 years.

Investment

Ahead of PM Modi's visit, the Israeli cabinet has approved a budget of $79.6 million or Rs 514 crore for investment in India, an amount that is bigger than that set aside for China, Africa, and Latin America combined.

Technology

Israel has hailed the ISRO launches of satellites and a cooperation agreement between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Israel Space Agency (ISA) is expected to be signed during the current trip of PM Modi in Israel.

PM Modi is also expected to finalise agreements of technology that may then be produced under the Make in India banner.

 

According to reports, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's landmark visit to Israel, he will not be visiting Palestine.