A Dummy's guide: Why is Israel important for India

Rivlin is the first president of Israel after Ezer Weizman who visited India in 1997

Israeli president Reuven Rivlin arrived for a 6-day visit to India, setting in motion the bilateral exchanges to mark twenty-five years of formal diplomatic ties between the two countries.

The bilateral ties between the two countries were established in 1992 and since then, the two countries have collaborated on various levels including defence, technology, agriculture, etc.

Rivlin is the first president of Israel after Ezer Weizman visited India in 1997. Israel is the second-largest defence supplier to India after Russia.

Here are the areas which form the basis of the Indo-Israeli ties

Defence: Israel is India’s fifth-largest source to beef up the defence sector. The earliest signs of collaboration came during the For the first time during the 1962 Sino-Indian war, Israel gave military aid to India. It also assisted India in the 1965 and 1971 wars against Pakistan. Almost all of India unarmed vehicles have been imported from India.

Science and technology: Signed in 1993, the agreement signed between the two countries included cooperation in areas like information technology, biotechnology, lasers, and electro-optics. Even a joint science and technology fund was set up in 1994 to facilitate Research and Development collaboration between both countries. A joint commission was also formed to monitor collaboration.

Space: Signed in 2002, India and Israel agreed to promote space collaboration between both countries. In 2003, the Israel Space Agency expressed interest in collaborating with the Indian Space Research Organisation in using satellites for improved management of land and other resources.

Deployment of TAUVEX – an Israeli space telescope array, a synthetic aperture radar imaging satellite – TecSAR was also facilitated by Israel. Apart from these, India successfully launched synthetic aperture radar imaging satellite RISAT-2 in 2009 which was manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries in conjunction with ISRO.

Agriculture: In 2008, the two countries signed an agricultural plan introducing crops native to the Middle East and Mediterranean to India. The particular focus of the agreement remained on olives and around 112,000 trees were planted in Rajasthan. In 2014, more than 100 tonnes of olives were produced in the state.

They also signed the Agriculture Cooperation Agreement aiming to utilise Israeli technology to increase crop productivity in India.

Water: Israel has offered to help India in cleaning river Ganga. Israel maintains that it knows how to arrange clean drinking water due to the shortage that they have had in the past. And it has offered to help India meet its water needs for agriculture and drinking.

As the two countries celebrate their 25th anniversary of bilateral ties, business and technological ties are growing. With Pakistan’s all-weather friend, China also aiming to get its hand on the defence know of how of Israel, it is important that India gets a stronger grip on the already existing relations.