The India-Israel relationship has been in news this whole week courtesy Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel. And yesterday, the two nations further deepened their relationship by announcing the launch of a technology fund, the Israel India Innovation Initiative Fund, or I4F, that will focus towards growing the two countries’ business relations. In addition to the tech fund, the two countries also signed a total of seven accords aimed at boosting India and Israel’s cooperation in a number of crucial sectors right from agriculture and water to space research etc.
The Indian Prime Minister, who is currently on a three-day visit to Israel, has been working on building India’s military and technology power to a whole new level as he aims to move his entire country into the digital age. On the other hand, Israel, whose export-based economy depends massively on technology, has been wanting to enter the Indian market of a whopping 1.3 billion people for quite some time. Hence, it seems, now the time is ripe for both the countries to come together, help each other out and take their business relationship forward.
The two countries also announced the launch of strategic partnership between them for water that will focus on conserving water, ensuring agricultural use of treated wastewater, and cleaning the Ganga and other rivers for the betterment of human life. The two governments also laid extra importance on defence relationship and said that future deals should include the transfer of Israeli technology to the Indian subcontinent, keeping in line with Modi government’s much hyped Make in India initiative. In addition to all this, the two countries also signed three separate MoUs for space research.
The Israel India Innovation Initiative Fund would see each government putting in a sum of $4 million a year for five years. The fund is aimed at encouraging Indians to invest in Israel’s technology ecosystem and attract large Indian companies into opening their development centres there.
Indian and Israeli relations are getting friendlier every year. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in the year 1992, bilateral trade and economic relations progressed rapidly. According to Israel’s Embassy of India website, from US$ 200 million in 1992 (comprising primarily of diamonds), merchandise trade diversified and reached USD 4.16 billion (excluding defence) in 2016. Further, Israel’s trade with India constituted 3.3% of its total trade in 2016. Last month, Jerusalem-based equity crowdfunding platform, OurCrowd, entered into a strategic collaboration with India’s Reliance Private Client, in which the Indian wealth management firm is offering its clients the option of investing in the Israeli company’s funds and startup portfolio (Read Here).
In addition to this, last week saw India’s largest angel investor group, Indian Angel Network, starting operations in Israel (Read Here), and India’s biggest marketplace for start-up funding, LetsVenture, agreeing to work together with Israeli equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd (Read Here). Further, Wipro Limited recently entered into a partnership with Tel Aviv University with an aim of researching emerging technologies, and Israel Aerospace Industries Limited yesterday announced one joint venture with Wipro Infrastructure Engineering and expanded another with Kalyani Group.