Narendra Modi's visit to Israel

India, Israel to set up $40 mn research fund

Nine years later: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu with Moshe, who was two years old when he was rescued by his nanny during the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.  

India and Israel announced a strategic partnership between the two countries after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, and signed seven agreements in the fields of water, agriculture, space, including a $40 million joint fund for research and development in innovation.

“India and Israel live in complex geographies. We are aware of the strategic threats to regional peace and stability,” said Mr. Modi, briefing the media on the outcome of the talks. “PM Netanyahu and I agreed to do much more together to protect our strategic interests and also cooperate to combat the growing radicalisation and terrorism, including in cyberspace.”

While none of the agreements signed on Wednesday were on security issues, officials said they had been prominent in the talks, and officials had discussed the possibility of “joint development of defence products, including the transfer of technology from Israel.”


“The historic first-ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Israel solidified the enduring friendship between their peoples and raised the bilateral relationship to that of a strategic partnership,” the joint statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said.

An earlier version of the joint statement distributed by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs didn’t include the wording on an overall “strategic partnership”, indicating that it had been added in the final round of the talks. Without mentioning specifics of the counter-terrorism cooperation envisaged, they agreed that “strong measures should be taken against terrorists, terror organisations, their networks and all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism, or provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups.” They also underscored the need to “ensure that terrorist organisations do not get access to any WMD [weapon of mass destruction] or technologies.”

India, Israel to set up $40 mn research fund

The veiled references to Pakistan and Iran, both of which are nuclear-capable powers, reflected the concerns India and Israel have on the issue of terror.

In view of Israel’s position on not welcoming “third party” interventions on the Israel-Palestine peace process, the joint statement only recorded “their support for an early negotiated solution between the sides based on mutual recognition and security arrangements,” without any reference to a “two-state solution” that India supports.

Mr. Netanyahu, who called the India-Israel partnership a force for “good against bad”, said they had had tasked special committees to implement the seven agreements between them by January 1 next year, and accepted Mr. Modi’s invitation to visit India. “We discussed so many fields where we think we can make a big difference, in water and agriculture, fields that affect the lives of our people,” he added.

Water conservation

The two agreements in the field of water deal with the “increasing awareness” of the need for water conservation, as well as an MoU between the Israeli Water Ministry and the Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam Board. Three MoUs on space cooperation included one for Electric Propulsion for Small Satellites, and for the development of an optical link as well as cooperation on atomic clocks. The fund of research and development, called the “I4F” or India Israel Industrial Innovation Fund, will see both governments contribute $20 million to help research scholars manufacture their inventions easily.


At a meeting earlier with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Mr. Modi also coined the term “I4I” or “India for Israel”, as a response to Mr. Netanyahu’s formula of “Indian talent and Israeli technology equals India-Israel ties for tomorrow.”

AI may fly to Tel Aviv

“From ‘Start-up India’ to ‘Make in India’, Israeli technology fits into all of India’s processes for growth,” said Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar speaking about the significance of the statements. The two sides also agreed to increase air linkages between the two countries, with Air India expected to commence flights to Tel Aviv, as well as a “Cultural Centre” at a location yet to be identified.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 3:51:46 AM |

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