0115 966 7955 Today's Opening Times 10:00 - 20:00 (BST)
Banner ad for Viper plagiarism checker

India Israel Relations Responsibilities And Realities Politics Essay


Disclaimer: This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers. You can view samples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.

1. All successful foreign policies are aimed at maintaining good relations with other nations. Foreign policies should be adaptive and dynamic in nature, capable of achieving both short - term and long - term national aims and interests. The domestic political systems as well as nature of changes which take place in global scenario time and again demand radical changes in the policies and the perceptions of Nation States. In order to meet them, both the nation and its government are required to necessitate formulation of new theories, policies, approaches, and partnerships. As such, a given foreign policy neither can be a success throughout the history nor could be a failure throughout. A foreign policy is presumed to be sound & successful, if the policy framed is capable of meeting the short - term and long - term national objectives and interests [2] .

2. The very nature of domestic socio political system, deciding the making of foreign policy is inescapably dependent on international scenario. There is always a demand of drastic changes in the policies based on the changes taking place in the international environment. In view to meet these challenges, the government of the nation has to continuously work towards reassessing its foreign policy and making suitable changes in it to suit the existing global/world order. In other words it would be correct to say that the foreign policies of a nation are necessitated to be changed and amended.

3. India, by tradition has shared close cultural and historical relations as well as political and ideological understanding with the Arab World. From its inception, India's foreign policy approach towards the West Asia has remained fairly steady to politically support the Arab cause. Independent India felt emotionally and morally committed to the national aspirations of the Arabs to regain their rightful place in the comity of nations [3] .The traditional pro - Arab position and opposition to partition plan inhibited India from initially recognising Israel as Nation State. If the recognition took two years, the diplomatic relations had to wait over four decades until 1990's.

4. The other aspects which affected the relations with Israel were that, India was supporter of Palestine cause, exceedingly depended on Arab oil, security of Indian citizens in the gulf was in mind, and containment of Pakistan added to complexities. These factors were always in the mind of India as nation while standardising its foreign policies towards West Asia including Israel. As a nation, it was very difficult for India to have an alignment, since of already established fact that India was the nation who propagated NAM (Non Aligned Movement).

5. The gulf war of 1990 and the end of Cold War with collapse of erstwhile USSR brought new developments in global politics. Due to sudden change in the global scenario, there was a need to adopt a new approach. The sweeping winds of liberalisation and globalisation coupled with a weak economy forced India to undertake a major change in its foreign policy. Like any other country, India was now forced to have a relook at its policies towards a world order purely dominated by the US. With non alignment as its main policy till now, India had a massive task in front of herself of readjusting its policies to emerge as a growing nation. The situation became further challenging of the fact that the Kashmir issue started playing on her mind. Tel Aviv also tried to endear itself to New Delhi by constantly supporting India's stand on Kashmir issue that can only be settled on the basis of 1972 Shimla Agreement between both India and Pakistan.

6. Apropos 1992 onwards, India decided to engage herself into full deliberate, diplomatic, and strategic relations with the state of Israel. In spite of varied commonalities and contradictions, the relations with Israel have progressed steadily and firmly towards attaining new heights and dimensions in last decade. The incident of 9/11 aided towards the strengthening of the partnership as both nations perceived Pakistan as their common enemy and main impediment in realisation of their ambitions. There are also a number of challenges which are being faced by both the nations towards this end. Some of these are India's ties with Tehran ties, Israel's military cooperation with China, normalisation with Pakistan, differences on terrorism and US perception. In spite of them, both the nations are making all the endeavors, without any pre-conditions to be a strong & reliable ally. Though the Cold War world order proved unfavourable to their relations, however the present regional and global imperatives necessitate a strong & strategic alliance between them. This is the suitable time to nurture them and set the stage for moving towards a strong and stable strategic relation.


Statement of Problem

7. To study the challenges faced by the India - Israel strategic relations presently and recommendations for better prospects in the future.


8. Twenty first Century may be called as century of Asia, but Arab Spring has made an impact on present global scenario. Amid turbulent socio - political and military developments in the region, India and Israel are still finding an increasing convergence in their strategic relations, though there are a number of challenges being faced by both of them. Thus the question arise that should India continue with policy of strengthening the strategic ties with Israel despite the present turbulence in Arab region.

Justification for the Study

9. India's diplomatic approach towards Israel has always been under scanner of controversy, estrangement, and embarrassment. India's policy towards Israel was initially stipulated by numerous factors like political, social, economic, religious, as well as strategic. The changes in global politics, end of cold war, peace initiatives in West Asia, and the impact of liberalisation and globalisation were the main causes for a policy shift. When the Palestinian leaders and the entire Arab world were ready to negotiate with Israel at Madrid, there was no reason that India should be more catholic than the pope [4] . The logic in doing so was definitely convincing and imperative as the benefits that accrued from the close relations with Israel particularly in the fields of defence was going to be substantial. The enormity of the defence cooperation between both the nations can be determined from the mere fact that in a very short span of two decades, Israel has turned out to be the largest arms supplier to India, outshining the Russians with whom India had defence cooperation since independence.

10. In the world, where national interests has been placed first by the countries and friendships later, the unique concept of looking for permanent friends in Arab World and Israel which are very different from each other will prove to be a major challenge to India's foreign policy in the future. There is also a need to change from an idealistic and wishful policy to a pragmatic, dynamic and realistic approach in India's West Asia foreign policy. Thus India's decision to engage with Israel diplomatically merits a detailed critical analysis and study to determine whether India's national interests have been preserved or further compromised and should India continue to strengthen its relations with Israel or otherwise.


11. Considering the enormity of the subject, the scope of the study and analysis is restricted to the following :-

(a) Study the relations during Pre and Post recognition Eras.

(b) Comprehensive relationship between the two nations in various spheres especially in defence sector.

(c) Concerns of Pakistan & Arab World over the strategic ties.

(d) Various Challenges faced by both the countries while progressing towards strategic ties.

(e) Recommendations for further enhancement of India - Israel strategic alliance.

Methods of Data Collection

12. The maximum of the information for the study of the subject has been collected from the books, articles, and information available on internet on the subject. The bibliography of the same is appended at the end for the future reference.

Organisation of the Dissertation

13. It is proposed to study the subject under the following chapters: -

(a) Chapter II - Pre - Recognition Era.

(b) Chapter III - Post - Recognition Era.

(c) Chapter IV - Comprehensive Relationship.

(d) Chapter V - Concerns of Pakistan & Arab World.

(e) Chapter VI - Challenges Towards Strategic Ties.

(f) Chapter VII - Recommendations.

(g) Chapter VIII - Conclusion.


"No foreign policy - no matter how ingenious has any chance of success if it is born in the minds of few and carried in the hearts of none."

- Henry Kissinger [5] 


14. West Asia and North Africa (WANA) as a region have been significant to mankind throughout the world. It has been occupying an important position in the international relations. This region has also featured prominently in the Indian foreign policy due to its geopolitical location being link between Europe and Asia. The enormous oil reserves have perpetually attracted interest from all developing nations. The west Asia policy of India was primarily focused on its friendly relations with the Arab countries. Jawaharlal Nehru, the prime minister of independent India, began cooperating with the Arab and Indian National Congress (INC) lent its support for Arab's struggle well before the independence. Thus the roots of India's Israel policy can be traced to the early 1920s, when the Indian nationalist leadership emerged a staunch supporter of the Arabs.

15. Due to historical reasons, India's stance towards Jewish nationalistic aspiration was unlike that of the West. Viewing it through the Islamic prism, the Indian nationalists stated that the consent of the Arab residents was indispensable while creating a Jewish national home in the Palestine. Though being sympathetic towards the Jews and their sufferings, they were unwilling to endorse the Zionist demands. At the United Nations in 1947, the Indian delegation first argued for federal state of Palestine and, when plan failed, then for recognition of Palestine as an independent state, with wide autonomy for Jews in areas where they were in majority [6] . When the UN General Assembly voted for the majority plan, India joined the Arab and Islamic countries in opposing the partition of Palestine. India also regarded Israel as theocratic state setup with the backing of imperial powers.

16. The Jews however were prepared for decisive action [7] . Israel came into existence in May, 1948 by partitioning Palestine. The Indian government did not recognize Israel in the beginning and also opposed the UN membership in 1949. It was only in September, 1950 that India accorded a de jure recognition to Israel and permitted a Consulate to function in Bombay [8] . If the recognition had to take more than two years to materialize, the diplomatic relations had to wait over four decades until 1992. Few reasons as to why it took India close to two years of indecision are that the sentiments and opinion of the post - partition traumatised Muslim minority residing in India necessitated careful handling. Secondly, India did not desire to offend the Arabs & lose support. Thirdly, India sought to maintain its moral & ethically upright stance. However, the main reason attributed to the same was of India's support and sympathies with the Palestinian cause. India was an initiator of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and thus her support to Palestine was on principle of anti - imperialism and anti - colonialism and not on religious grounds. India also became one of the first non - Arab states to recognise the Palestinian independence and to permit an embassy of the PLO in her capital. 

17. India's anti - Israel attitude was also the part of larger diplomatic strategy of countering Pakistan's influence in Arab world and that of safeguarding its oil and gas supplies from the Arab countries. The same also ensured security to the jobs for thousands of Indians in the Gulf and thereby helping India to keep its foreign exchange reserves afloat. The perception of protecting Indian national interests by a negative foreign policy towards Israel was so strong amongst the Indian leadership that despite Arabs failing to reciprocate positively during India's wars with China (1962) and Pakistan (1965 and 1971) as well as growing public dissent could not cut much ice in Delhi. Indian leadership was ready to pay the price of refusing to establish full diplomatic relations with Jerusalem and criticise Israel in various forums, just for making the Arabs happy. Yet all the efforts of the Indian government could neither ensure continued electoral support from the Muslims nor win the goodwill of Arab states.

18. The fact that United States strongly supporting Israel, while India's sympathies were toward the Soviet Union led both the nations end up on the opposite sides during the Cold War. It again proved detrimental to the relations. Four Arab Israel wars and Indian support to Arabs in all of them further contributed towards the deterioration of the India - Israel relations. The Congress Party, dominant force in nation's politics since independence, opposed Israel in large part because it viewed Israel as an analogue of Pakistan, a state based on religion. This fact also hampered growth of India - Israel ties.

19. However, during this era, Israeli consulate in Bombay keenly and religiously worked to influence important personalities. Symposiums, lectures, debates, and exhibitions were organised to reach out to key and significant individuals. In 1962, both the countries signed an agreement for nuclear cooperation. In April 1963, a secret agreement was signed for supply of arms during Israeli General David Shaltiel visit to India for talks with his counterpart. Both the countries also agreed to train each other's officers in military establishments. In 1967, when France imposed embargo on supply of arms to Israel, Brigadier General Ariel Sharon, commander of the Israeli armoured division in Sinai in the 1967 Arab-Israel war, visited India for the purchase of spare parts of Mystere and Ouragan planes and AMX 13 tanks [9] . Israel even acknowledged that several tactics used by the Indian army against Pakistan in the 1965 war were of great benefit for the Israelis in her 1967 war against the Arabs.

20. The Janata Party which formed the first non - Congress government at the centre in 1977 tried to initiate some new trends, which raised hopes for better India - Israel relations [10] . The two important and essential developments which took place during Morarji Desai's tenure were incognito visit of Israeli foreign minister Moshe Dayan and Camp David Accord. Whatsoever may have been official and public stand towards Israel, India always maintained a veiled relation with Tel-Aviv. The relations started improving after mid 80's. It was during Rajiv Gandhi's tenure when US congressmen Stephen Solarz assisted a Jewish lobbyist Moris Abraham from New York in reviving and re-establishing cordial relations with India. Many of Indians are not even aware of the fact that India's top nuclear scientists secretly visited Israel in 1984. This fact may be attributed towards India's desire to acquire minimum credible deterrence to protect her sovereignty and independence keeping in view Pakistan's venture in the field with the help of her allies.

21. Agriculture was another field where Israel exploited Indian markets during non recognition period. She had attained expertise in various agricultural techniques and also in the areas of horticulture and floriculture. She had mastered in a system to prevent water logging and salinity, drip irrigation and hybrid farming to name a few. These attracted Indians and they exchanged much for acquiring these for its desert regions of Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

22. The most crucial and controversial development that indicated re-appraisal in India's Israel policy was decision to host the Davis Cup quarter finals tennis match in July 1987 [11] . Since the mid 70's, there was mixed sports policy followed by India when it concerned Israel. Though there was no formal ban on individual meets, national engagements were either tried to be prevented or not encouraged. The Davis Cup tie generated public debate about India's foreign policy towards Israel [12] .

23. Finally, with end of cold war due to disintegration of Soviet Union in 1991 and Gulf war II in which US demonstrated her supremacy there was a need felt by India to adopt a new approach and to review its foreign policy. The collapse of the USSR not only meant an immense loss of a key arms provider but also that the India had lost a dependable and reliable ally on the international diplomatic front. India was also interested in advancing and upgrading its military as well as civilian capabilities in view to fulfill its dream of becoming a regional power. Her relations with the Arab nations, who were technologically far behind Jewish state, were not realising India's dream. Like any other country, India was now forced to have a relook at its policies towards a world order purely dominated by the United States.


"International events should not govern foreign policies, but foreign policies, incidents"

- Napoleon Bonaparte [13] 


24. India on 29 January, 1992, when announced of exchanging ambassadors with Tel Aviv concluded the process of diplomatic normalisation which was left incomplete when New Delhi had recognised Jewish state in 1950. By taking this step India became last major non - Arab and non - Islamic power to progress closer to Israel. While Rajiv Gandhi, in his premiership, had taken certain steps to normalise the relations with Israel, the final acclaim went to P.V. Narasimha Rao. By engaging into complete diplomatic relations with Israel, he realised the promise made by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to his Israeli counterpart David Ben - Gurion in early 1952.

25. India was waiting for a force of change to knock at its doorsteps rather than taking a bold foreign policy decision on Israel herself. The multiple and inter related factors brought changes in the foreign policy matters. The significant factors that brought change in India's policy towards Israel are as under :-

(a) Firstly, the Gulf war in 1990 proved the prowess of US. The emerging world order dominated by US and the economic factors forced India to give a new impetus to ties with US. US also became a facilitator for India in reorienting her policy towards Israel. US wanted strong and natural partners like India & Israel to counter new threat of "Islamic Radicalism and Fundamentalism". The strong Jewish lobby in US was also putting in their efforts to normalize of relations with Israel. The effort of them in stopping sale of Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) to Pakistan and garnering support for India on the issue of Kashmir was not only acknowledged by Delhi, but also apprised Indian policy makers of the Jewish influence in the US. This fact convinced Indian leadership that the American Jewish lobby is a vital link of influence in American policy decision making and that in order to optimally utilise this link, it was crucial to normalise relations with Israel.

(b) Secondly, end of cold war and disintegration of Soviet Union led to the change in the balance of power and the world changed from bipolar to unipolar world with US as only superpower in global politics. With non alignment as its main policy till now, India had a massive task in front of herself of readjusting its policies to emerge as a growing nation. The collapse of the USSR not only meant an immense loss of a dependable and reliable ally on the international diplomatic front but also loss of a key arms provider. Israel's defence industry was seen as a readily available substitute for up gradation and new defence acquisitions.

(c) Thirdly, a very important factor in normalisation of India - Israel ties was the impact of globalization. The insecure condition of Indian economy and severe balance of payment crisis led to the economic reforms. These structural alterations and opening up of economy were supported by world organisations like IMF World Bank operating under US control. The end of cold war also forced pre - eminence of economics over politics. This influenced and forced the Indian government in following the US line and changing its foreign policy.

(d) Fourthly, India's desire to participate and contribute in peace initiatives in West Asia changed India's outlook towards Israel. After Madrid Peace Conference held in October 1991, the dispute over annoying friendly Arab states and Muslims became inappropriate, as the Arabs as well as the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), were themselves settling for peace with Israel. With this new development India was encouraged to break ice with Israel. The Jewish state was no more a "pariah" as before [14] .

(e) Fifthly, India's decision was considered as a move to strengthen her position on the issue of Kashmir. Repeated pro - Pakistan resolutions on issue of Kashmir by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) further encouraged India to re-evaluate its Middle East policy. Israel on the other hand continuously garnered support for India on the issue of Kashmir. It may be prudent here to notice that when Johanan Bein, the Deputy Director General of the Israeli Foreign Office, visited India in February 1994, the Israeli official declared : " Kashmir is an integral part of India any problem should be solved bilaterally" [15] .

(f) Sixthly, in the early 1990s, the increase in Islamic fundamentalism and radicalism worsened the domestic as well as the regional security environment of India. New Delhi saw a common ground with Israel in this regard. Israel's experiences in countering terrorism were considered to be a valuable input while tackling the jihadi terrorism in Kashmir. This fact also brought India closer to Israel.

(g) Seventhly, the dip in oil prices during same time somewhat reduced India's dependence on Arab for oil. The unstable and insecure environment prevalent in the region forced government to look for alternative means and sources of energy to meet the requirement.

26. The establishment of full diplomatic relations with Israel resulted in a new era of partnerships which has grown strength to strength in last two decades. The India - Israel relationship, still born for 40 years, has rapidly made up for lost time [16] . Despite of short duration of establishment of full diplomatic relations, cooperation between the two countries has been impressive. It seems that both sides have discovered each other and that the affinities were not limited to sharing the same cultural, spiritual, and moral values [17] . The smooth pace with which relations have grown and strengthened has rewarded Israel's patience and made Indians to think as to why they had delayed in normalising the relations for so long. Both countries have worked hard towards reinforcing the institutional mechanism for stronger bilateral relations. There have been visits of various teams to the two countries [18] . There was a great deal of coming and going between the two, more perhaps from the Indian side than the Israeli [19] . Helped by fast changing realities and a much stronger public opinion, the two countries are moving cautiously but rapidly to develop a comprehensive relationship.

27. During the course of normalisation of relations between India and Israel, a host of bilateral agreements and pacts have been signed and operationalised between the two nations [20] . The list of the same is as under :-

Ser No

Bilateral Agreements

Agreement Date

Establishment of Full Bilateral Diplomatic Relations


Cultural Agreement


Agreement for Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture


Air Transport Agreement


Agreement concerning Cooperation in the Field of Telecommunication and Posts


Agreement on Trade and Economics Cooperation


Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investments


Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and for the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital


Bilateral Agreement regarding Mutual Assistance and Cooperation in Custom matters


Memorandum of Intent on a Joint High-tech Agricultural Demonstration Cooperation Project


Umbrella Agreement on the Development of Cooperation in the Field of Industrial & Technological Research & Development


Agreement on Technical Cooperation


Executive Agreement for a Program of Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture


Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine


Ser No

Bilateral Agreements

Agreement Date

Agreement on Cooperation in combating illicit trafficking and abuse of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances


Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Protection of the Environment


Agreement on Exemption of Visa requirement for holders of diplomatic, official and service passports


Indo-Israel Industrial Initiative for R&D

July 2005

Agreement on Economic Cooperation

Nov 2005

Three-year Work Plan for Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture

May 2006


"We do have a defence relationship with India, which is no secret.

On the other hand, what is a secret is what the defence relationship is.

And with all due respect, the secret part of it will remain secret".

- Mark Sofer [21] 

Israeli Ambassador to India



28. At the advent of 21st century, South Asia and the Middle East pose major challenge to global peace and security. The emerging Delhi - Jerusalem strategic alliance can become one of the crucial factors maintaining global security. Alliance with Israel would make India more strong and powerful to play a significant and meaningful role in the South Asia, Central Asia, and West Asia. India also needs the alliance and cooperation of Israel in achieving qualitative and quantitative superiority in its defence capabilities to fulfill her aim of becoming the regional power. To meet her needs of up gradation and modernisation of defense muscles, India has determined to achieve self - reliance various fields including surveillance capabilities, missiles, and air fleet. Owing to heavy cost incurred in conduct of research and development and being a developing nation, India is partially relying on import of components and collaboration. India's attempts to achieve all this have been actively supported by Israeli weapon system to include missiles, avionics, sensors to monitor cross - border infiltration, remotely piloted drones etc.

29. For Israel, the relations with India will not only provide her huge market for Israel's defense industry but also will also contain Pakistan in helping the Middle Eastern nations against Tel Aviv. India's vast and lucrative defense market is presenting a golden opportunity to Israel to exploit it for her politico - economic gains. Israel has been willing to supply India the state - of - the - art defense equipments and technologies. Israel's provision of these equipments and technology especially in the areas of electronics, avionics, missile technology, and intelligence has been hallmark in their strategic alliance. India is also sees an opportunity to benefit from Israel's expertise in combating insurgency and terrorism. In real sense, India - Israel relations have assumed significance as they are based on very security considerations. Any consequential and constructive relationship between both the nations is more likely to cover joint research and production and the transfer of technologies. Israel also apprehends that Pakistan's nuclear program can become a source of strength for the Arab world, and Iran, whom she considers to be her bitter and worse adversaries.

Bilateral Visits

30. 2012 marks the twentieth anniversary of establishment of full diplomatic relations between the two nations. Since the establishment of the Embassies, there have been a large number of ministerial visits between the two nations. To commemorate twentieth anniversary, External affairs minister Shri S M Krishna, Minister of Urban Development Shri Kamal Nath, Minister of communication, IT, and HR Development Shri Kapil Sibal and Minister of Tourism shri Subodh Kant Sahai, all four of them visited Israel.

31. This long duration of two decades has been utilised to put in place framework of normal state - to - state relations, including MOUs and agreements in diverse areas of cooperation. Bilateral institutional mechanism includes strategic dialogue between national security advisors (NSAs), foreign office consultations, JWG on non proliferation dialogue, counter terrorism, defence cooperation, trade and economic cooperation, Joint Committee on agriculture, economic and commercial relations. The list of important visits is as under [22] :-


Visiting Delegate

Date of visit

FM Shimon Peres

May 1993

President Ezer Weizmann

Jan 1997

FM Shimon Peres

Jan 2002

PM Ariel Sharon

Sep 2003

DPM and FM Silvan Shalom

Feb 2004

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Industry and Labour Eliyahu Yishai

December 2006

Minister of Transport and Road Safety Shaul Mofaz

March 2007

Minister of Interior Meir Sheetrit

November 2007

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Shalom Simon

January 2008

Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour Binyamin Ben Eliezer

January 2010

Minister of Agriculture Orit Noked

May 2011

Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov

September 2011

Minister of Internal Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch

Oct.-Nov. 2011

Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz

December 2011

Minister of Energy & Water Resources, Uzi Landau

February 2012


Visiting Delegate

Date of visit

Home Minister LK Advani

June 2000

EAM Jaswant Singh

July 2000

MOS (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology Shri Kapil Sibal

May 2005

MOS for Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja

September 2005

Agriculture Minister Shri Sharad Pawar

November 2005

May 2006

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath

November 2005

MOS for Industry Ashwani Kumar

August 2007

MOS for Railways R. Velu

December 2007

Former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

February 2008

Chief Justice of Supreme Court Shri K. G. Balakrishnan

December 2008

Chief Minister of Punjab Shri Parkash Singh Badal and Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Shri Prem Kumar Dhumal

November 2009

Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia

February 2010

Minister of State Science & Technology Shri Prithviraj Chavan

March 2010

Several Members of Parliament

July 2010

Comptroller and Auditor General Shri Vinod Rai

May 2011

Chief Minister of Haryana, Mr. Bhupinder Singh Hooda

April 2011

Minister of State for Communications and IT Mr. Sachin Pilot

June 2011

RBI Governor D. Subbarao

June 2011

Group of Indian MPs

November 2011

External Affairs Minister Shri S.M. Krishna

January 2012

Minister of Urban Development Shri Kamal Nath

February 2012

Minister of Communications, Information Technology and Human Resource Development, Mr. Kapil Sibal

April 2012

Minister of Tourism, Mr. Subodh Kant Sahai

June 2012

Trade and Economic Relations

32. The bilateral trade and economic relations between the two nations have progressed rapidly since 1992. It has increased from mere USD 200 million in 1992 (primarily diamonds) to USD 5.15 billion in 2011. With this, India has become eighth largest trade partner of Israel and third largest in Asia. Balance of trade in 2011 was in favour of Israel by USD 844 million. Though the India's exports in areas other than diamonds are on increase, still diamond alone constituted of 56% of trade. Major exports items between two nations are as under :-

(a) India to Israel. Precious stones, metals, textile, chemical products, plants and vegetable products, rubber and plastic products, base metals, mineral products and machinery.

(b) Israel to India. Precious stones, base metals, chemical and mineral products, machinery, and transport equipment.

India-Israel Bilateral Trade in 2007-2011 (in US$ Millions)

C:\Users\515\Desktop\Indo Israel Relations\Chapter 4\Bilateral Trade Relations 1_files\image007.gif

Source: Israel Central Bureau of Statistics

33. In a big boost to the burgeoning India - Israel bilateral trade, a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is currently under negotiations between the two nations. "The giant Indian market is full of endless opportunities for Israeli companies, of which many are already active there and can now expand their market", Israel's Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz was quoted as saying at a trade convention by news portal Ynetnews [23] .

Agriculture and Water Technologies

34. In 1993, during the official visit of Israeli premier, both the governments signed an agreement for cooperation in the field of agriculture. Subsequently an Action Plan for 2008 - 2010 was signed under which projects have been carried out with Israeli expertise in Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. A center of excellence for vegetables is functional at Karnal, Haryana. India has benefited from Israeli technologies in protected cultivation, nursery management, horticulture mechanisation, orchard and canopy management, micro - irrigation and post - harvest management by the visits of Israeli experts and capability building programs.


35. Action Plan for 2012 - 2015 has been expanded from four to seven States, i.e. Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Punjab. In Maharashtra, Centers of Excellence like in case of Karnal will be set - up for Pomegranate at Rahuri, Mango at Ratnagiri, and Citrus at Akola. Indian official and business delegations are regularly attending Israel's triennial international agricultural exhibition event Agritech, which displays Israel's achievements in agriculture. In Agritech 2012 (May 15 - 17), the Ministers of Agriculture of Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra and business delegations from India participated.

36. Given Israel's efficient and novel water technologies for management of waste water, recycling waste water (75%), desalination, water conservation, and water security, there is ongoing joint cooperation. The biannual event WATEC in Israel has been regularly visited by India's companies and official delegations, which has been showcasing Israel's water and energy technologies. In February 2012, the Ministry of Urban Development in India, and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labour signed a Joint Declaration for mutual cooperation in water technologies under which, first meeting of a Joint Working Group was held on 3 - 6 Dec 2012 in Delhi. Israel's national water company Mekorot, is providing expertise to concerned organizations in Greater Mumbai and West Bengal [24] .

Culture, Education & Tourism

37. India is known in Tel Aviv as an ancient country with very strong cultural traditions. India is a beautiful, attractive, and alternative tourist destination is perception in Israel in general and in Israeli youth in particular. About 35,000 Israelis, generally youth, visit India every year. There is an abiding interest in the Indian culture, which is promoted with an array of dance, music, traditional arts and crafts, and cinema. Courses related to India are taught at Tel Aviv University, Haifa University, and Hebrew University. India has a MoU with Tel Aviv University to set up a Rotating Chair for Indian studies in the Department of East and South East Asian Studies. In fact Hindi is being taught at Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University. Seven ICCR scholarships and some Known Indian Scholarships of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs are granted to Israelis every year. A new Cultural Exchange Program is being negotiated [25] .

38. The first Festival of India in Israel 'Celebrating India in Israel', produced by the Indian Embassy and Teamwork Productions, India which brought together contemporary and classical Indian culture in all its aspects was held in May 2011. The festival was a huge success. The second edition of the Festival of India was held in April - May 2012 in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa to celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations. The festival was inaugurated by the Israeli Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Dr. Uzi Landau. The festival which showcased India's theatre, music, cuisine, yoga, film, contemporary art, and literature received media attention and was a beautiful addition to Israel's cultural calendar [26] .

Defence Ties

39. India - Israel relations have assumed significance as they are based on very security considerations. It is due to common security interests that military cooperation between both the countries has rapidly expanded. According to reports, in the period of 2002 to 2007, India received more than $5 billion arms/equipments from Israel, making it one of the major arms suppliers. Bilateral military trade amongst two nations has touched $9 billion by 2009. Presently India is the largest purchaser of Israel's military hardware and the second largest economic partner. Both the countries are undertaking various joint military exercises and training. Since India and Israel are eager to enhance their defence capabilities in order to meet similar challenges and threats, therefore, military collaboration between them has become imperative. The convergence of interests between both the nations of fighting against radical Islam and terrorism, their joint concern over proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear technology and growing coordination in Indian Ocean region have become the basis of their strong defence and military relations.

40. India's quest for the latest military technologies complements Israel's need to broaden the market for its military products [27] . Major defence procurements and agreements as regards the Indian armed forces is as under :-

(a) Army.

(i) In 1999, during the Kargil war, India acquired 40000 rounds of 155 mm guns for $ 1200 a piece and 30000 rounds of 160mm mortars for $ 400 a piece from Israel.

(ii) Israel entered into dialogue with Indian MoD for provision of state - of - the - art fire control systems and thermal imaging night sights for T-72 tanks and upgrading its armour.

(iii) In early 2000, Israeli SOLTAM systems won a contract to upgrade Soviet 130 mm artillery guns. The conversion of 130mm to 155mm artillery with Israeli help also follows the pattern of India's shift to western military standards.

(iv) India's indigenous efforts on production of UAVs for attack and reconnaissance missions have performed poorly. In 2001, the Indian MoD signed a fixed price deal with IAI at $7.21 million per UAV. The 1999 Kargil border conflict highlighted the need for these UAVs and in December 2003 India signed another deal worth $ 130 million for 18 Heron UAVs [28] . In 2005, India furthered ordered 30 more Heron UAVs from Israel under USD 240 million deal [29] .

(v) An Israeli company, Tadiran Communications is providing Indian army with ruggedized communication equipment and battle space management systems worth millions of dollars [30] .

(vi) Negotiations to procure additional Aerostat radars ELM 2083 similar to the radars inducted in 2004 - 2005 have also been successful and the delivery of the proposed radars is in process.

(vii) Israel military Industry has been successful in a bid to supply the FSAPDS projectile with kinetic energy penetrator rods made of depleted uranium for the Soviet made T-72 tanks and the same is likely to be of a much higher quality and penetrating capability than the domestically produced rounds. [31] 

(b) Navy.

(i) In 1996, the Indian Navy had procured two Super Dvora Mk II fast attack craft from Israel and thereafter, IAI Ramta division was awarded a USD 10 million contract to build two more such patrol boats in India.

(ii) In the same year, Israeli IAI had offered its ELM - 2022A, multi mode maritime surveillance radar, which can simultaneously track up to 100 targets. This radar is primarily aimed at countering threats emanating from Pakistan's acquisition of P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircrafts from US. The Israeli radar can even be fitted on patrol helicopters.

(iii) Israeli firms have too revamped electronic control systems of INS VIRATS.

(iv) The Indian Navy has also procured Heron UAVs, for monitoring and surveillance of Arabian Sea and areas in vicinity of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

(v) After cancelling development of the Trishul in January 2003, India has decided to mount Israeli BARAK anti missile system on to some of its warships to protect them from aircrafts and stealthy supersonic sea skimming missiles. The deal which is worth USD 450 million is Israel's single largest defence deal with any nation so far.

(c) Air Force.

(i) Though in 1996, Israel lost out on contract to upgrade 126 MIG - 21 aircrafts, it has accomplished a contract with Indian Air Force fitting laser guided bombs to its MIG-21s.

(ii) The deal for Phalcon AEW planes was signed back in 2004 and included installation of Israeli - made early warning systems on Russian - made Beriev A - 50 aircraft. The deal, worth about $1.1 billion, experienced difficulties and delays. However, India received its first set of AWACS form Israel in 2009.

(iii) Israeli firm IAI specialises in refitting combat aircraft and helicopters, and in 2000, it was awarded the contract to upgrade the Mi-25 and the Mi- 35 P helicopter gunships for night operations and also develop the Mission 24 suite that includes the multi mission optronic stabilised payload, night vision goggles and helmet mounted display for each crew member. [32] 

(iv) A joint agreement exists between India and Israel to jointly produce the civilian version of the 14 seated Advanced Light Helicopter.

(d) Potential Indian Interest. In terms of areas of interest in Israeli defence weapons / equipment, it can narrow down to as under :-

(i) Submarine launched cruise missiles.

(ii) Micro-satellite systems for surveillance which can be launched from aircraft or in clusters from a missile.

(iii) Laser guided systems and precision guided mention munitions (PGMs).

(iv) Anti ballistic missile systems.

(v) Up gradation of all Soviet origin aircraft, artillery, tanks etc.

(vi) Radars of all types.

Research and Development

41. In India, Defense - related research is conducted by DRDO, while the approximate Indian equivalent of Israel is Rafael, which is also involved in design and development in a variety of fields such as armaments, aeronautics, combat vehicles, rockets and missiles, computer sciences, naval technology, electronics and instrumentation, robotics, engineering, artificial intelligence, explosives safety, materials (metallic, non - metallic and composite), life sciences, nuclear medicine etc. As a result, the DRDO would be in the forefront of any security partnership between India and Israel. Many joint ventures have been taken by both the research institutes are enumerated below :-

(a) A consortium of Israeli companies have been roped in by DRDO for developing the infrastructure required for producing new - generation HTPB based composite propellants, and for developing novel transporter/erector launchers for carrying and firing futuristic tactical SSM [33] .

(b) Next major R & D venture between DRDO and IMI now underway calls for completely upgrading the T - 90s, main battle tank by co developing stabilised electrically driven turret housing TISAS, new gun control system, a battle management / land navigation system, a 120 mm rifled bore main gun, laser warning sensors, muzzle reference system, Halon based fire suppression system, ammunition storage system and automatic ammo loader. Even the hull would be modified for housing a combined NBC protection / air conditioning system.

(c) Another significant airspace surveillance system that is being co- developed by DRDO and IAI is the mini - airborne early warning and control system, which will incorporate conformal L-band, active phased - array antennae developed by DRDO's Hyderabad based DLRL & LDRE with systems integration done by DRDO's Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) [34] .

(d) Entities like Elisra subsidiary of Elbit systems and Tadiran Spectralink have joined forces with DRDO in developing 'Project Divya Drishti', a ground based, truck mounted passive air space surveillance system (PSS).

(e) In electronic warfare field, the DRDO's Bangalore based DARE has joined forces with Elisra to co develop a range of EW suites for combat aircraft and helicopters, akin to 'Mayawi" for Tejas LCA, which will cost USD 100 million.

(f) For developing Sagrika nuclear war - head - carrying turbojet - powered, vertically - launched cruise missile, the DRDO has enlisted the services of Israeli companies like IMI and RAFAEL Armament Development Authority [35] .

(g) On 27 January 2012, the DRDO, RAFAEL, and IAI entered into a trilateral joint R&D venture to co develop two types of surface - to - air missile (SAM) over a period of five years.

(h) For expediting the Tejas airworthiness certification and weapons qualification phases, IAI has since 2004 been collaborating with ADA and DARE to design, develop and validate LCA's weapon pylons, open - architecture stores management system and its interfaces to the ADA developed quadruplex digital flight control system and DARE/Elisra developed integrated EW suite. In addition, IAI's LAHAV Division is helping ADA design the LCA's weight budgeted avionics bulkheads and wiring harness [36] .

(j) Israeli companies are also involved in development of DRDO's USD 188.7 million R&D project for futuristic unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

Nuclear Collaboration

42. The stage for nuclear cooperation between two nations was set when chairman of Israeli Atomic Energy Commission visited India in 1962. The very same year two Indian scientists were sent to Israel on Israeli scholarships where the nuclear program was known as 'the bomb in the basement' [37] . The shared common concern between two nations is threat from their immediate neighbours with Pakistan and China in case of India while Arab states in case of Israel. The other commonality between both the states is that both are non signatory of NPT and CTBT. In 1974, when India detonated a nuclear device, it witnessed a spurt of Tel Aviv's efforts to expand the sphere of cooperation. There was a speculation in media that the Indian nuclear test of May 1998 was actually done to test the Israeli nuclear technology, as there are no testing grounds available in the Israeli territory. Reports of such collaboration in the nuclear field were however denied by then Indian Defence minister Mr. Jaswant Singh [38] .

43. Even in the absence of both the Governments' denial of any contacts with regards to nuclear field, it is conclusive that both the states are indigenous nuclear power. The do not require to exchange know how from each other. In fact, in a broader perspective, nuclear cooperation is not at all significant factor to both of them. On the other hand, it involves within the general framework of defence - security level contacts between the two nations.

Space Cooperation

44. India's space program started in early 1960s and since it has designed, built, and launched its own satellites. Both the countries have progressed swiftly and steadily towards enhancing their capabilities in third dimension through joint ventures. Col. Aby Har-Even, Israeli Space Research Program Head, and Dr. K. Kasturirangan Head of ISRO, have exchanged visits to finalise and finally signed the agreement on space cooperation in early November 2002. India launched Israel's TecSAR3, an Israeli surveillance satellite also known as Polaris, in September 2007. This was followed by launch of the Israeli - made imaging satellite, RISAT 2, on board India's domestically built Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. On 20 April 2009, India launched an Israeli border - control imaging satellite which enables it to monitor its borders with Bangladesh, China, and Pakistan. India also launched an Israeli - made spy satellite on 20 April 2009 itself, from Sriharikota near Bangalore city in the southern State of Karnataka. Both the countries are also jointly working on India's next generation satellite RISAT-2.

Intelligence and Counterterrorism Cooperation

45. The intelligence and counterterrorism fields present another important area of India - Israel cooperation. Repetitive cross - border attacks encouraged New Delhi to request defense assistance from Tel Aviv, which has also suffered long from similar threats. The Mumbai terror attack in 2008 stirred a growing interest by India in Israeli counter - terrorism modus operandi and techniques and led to formation of a joint working group. In September 2008, Defense News reported that the India and Israel were also planning joint counter terrorism exercises between their forces.

46. India has invited Israeli army experts to train 3,000 Indian soldiers in anti - insurgency warfare in jungle, mountain and desert areas and concluded USD 30 million agreement with IMI to arm soldiers with urban warfare equipments. The two countries' intelligence services also have established close relations. The Israeli intelligence services have been permitted, like the FBI, to establish a bureau in New Delhi. There are reports that the Israel's secret service, Mossad, will also train Indian intelligence personnel.

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Request Removal

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have the essay published on the UK Essays website then please click on the link below to request removal:

More from UK Essays

We can help with your essay
Find out more