IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


1st April, 2023 International Relations

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  • A Parliamentary Delegation from Israel, led by the Speaker of Knesset, H.E. Mr Amir Ohana called on President of India, Smt Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Brief on relations

Political Relations

  • India and Israel are strategic partners.
  • India announced its recognition of Israel on September 17, 1950.
  • Regular Embassies were opened in 1992 when full diplomatic relations were established between the two countries.
  • India and Israel celebrated 30 years of the upgradation of bilateral ties to full diplomatic relations in 2022.
  • There are regular high-level visits.

Economic and Commercial Relations

  • India and Israel have restarted negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement.
  • From US$ 200 million in 1992, bilateral merchandise trade stood at US$ 7.86billion (excluding defense) during the period 2021 –2022 with the balance of trade being in India’s favor.
  • India is Israel's third-largest trade partner in Asia and ninth largest globally.
  • Though bilateral trade is dominated mainly by diamonds and chemicals, recent years have witnessed an increase in trade in areas such as electronic machinery and high-tech products; communications systems; medical equipment etc.
  • India continues to be a 'focus' country for the Israeli Government’s increased trade efforts.
  • Major exports from India to Israel include pearls and precious stones, chemical and mineral products, machinery and electrical equipment, textile and textile articles.
  • Major exports from Israel to India include pearls and precious stones, chemical and mineral products, machinery and electrical equipment, base metals, defense, machinery and transport equipment.Cumulative ODI from India as on June 2022 was US $ 131.85 million.

Total Trade between India and Israel (in US$ million)

Top 10 items of export from India to Israel

Top 10 items of import from Israel to India


  • Under a comprehensive work plan for cooperation in agriculture signed in 2006, bilateral projects are implemented through MASHAV (Center for International Cooperation of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and CINADCO (Centre for International Agricultural Development Cooperation of Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Page 5 of 10 Development).
  • Agricultural cooperation between the two sides is formalized through three-year action plans.
  • 29 Centres of Excellence (CoEs’) are fully active in twelve Indian states (Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Mizoram, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal). The objective is to have one CoE in each Indian state.
  • In India, Israel is well known as a key source of expertise in advanced agriculture and water technologies.
    • Given Israel’s impressive track record of reusing 90 percent of its wastewater, Indian authorities have partnered with Mashav, Israel’s international development organisation, to combat a looming water crisis.

Defense & Security

  • A relationship of cooperation has developed to where India is now the largest consumer of Israeli military equipment—exports to India constitute 46% of Israel’s total arms exports. Israel, meanwhile, is the second-largest supplier of military equipment to India after Russia, New Delhi’s traditional arms provider.
    • Their defence partnership also extends to sharing of crucial technologies by Israel for missiles, electronic warfare systems, radar systems, navigation systems, and weapon control systems designed and produced by DRDO.
  • India’s shift towards self-reliance in recent years has resulted in joint defence ventures being set up. The recently signed India-Israel Vision on Defence Cooperationis a step forward in this direction.
  • State-of-the-art arms systems such as  Barak 8 surface-to-air missiles, Skystriker drones, and Travor Assault Rifles are some of the products of the co-production and development initiative undertaken by the two countries.
  • As part of regular goodwill visits of Indian ships, three Indian naval ships from the Western Fleet made a port call in Haifa in May 2017.
  • India participated in the multilateral Airforce exercise BlueFlag-2021 held in October 2021 in Israel.


  • Start-Up Nation Central and India’s International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology (iCREATE) signed a bilateral program to accelerate innovation and tech cooperation in 2020.
  • India’s Defense Research and Development Organization and Israel’s Directorate of Defense R&D, signed Bilateral Innovation Agreement in November 2021.

Science &Technology

  • India-Israel cooperation in S&T is overseen by the Joint Committee on S&T, established under the S&T Cooperation Agreement signed in 1993.

People-to-people relations

  • The civilizational relations between the two peoples date back to more than two millennia.
  • India is known in Israel as an ancient nation with strong cultural traditions and as an attractive tourist destination.
  • India and Israel signed a Cultural Exchange Programme (for 2020-23) in 2020 to facilitate bilateral cultural exchanges spanning all fields of art and culture, including youth exchanges.
  • There are approximately 900 Indian students studying in Israel, mostly at the doctoral and post-doctoral levels.

Indian Community

  • There are approximately 85,000 Jews of Indian-origin in Israel, who are Israeli passport holders.
  • There are approximately 900 Indian students studying in Israel, mostly at the doctoral and post-doctoral levels.

De-hyphenation at work

  • India’s partnership with Israel has clearly flourished once it started to actively delink the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from its relations with the two parties.
  • The current government has made conscious efforts to make both relationships direct and visible, less linked to one another while ensuring that neither enjoys a veto against the other.
    • An example of this was seen when PM Modi did not combine his 2017 visit to Israel with one to the Palestinian authority in Ramallah but chose to make a separate visit in 2018.
  • At the same time, India has continued its principled support for a Palestinian State. It has even voted against Israel on numerous occasions.

Way Forward

  • The two countries have come a long way since the inception of formal diplomatic ties in 1992.
  • A Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement that includes trade in services would give a boost to the economic relationship.
  • In the water sector, India can capitalise on Israeli tech to develop a centralised platform for water solutions catering to different regions.
  • In the cybersecurity domain, the focus can shift to deepening A2A collaboration through joint doctoral fellowships, while encouraging the private sector to play a more active role in the partnership.
  • India can work with Israel to develop nano and radar-enabled satellite systems.
  • The Abraham Accords and the new I2U2 grouping have created new opportunities for expanding the relationship at a trilateral and plurilateral level.


  • India-Israel relations have developed because of perceptions of shared interests and common challenges and opportunities in various areas such as geopolitics and strategy and the cultural-political sphere.
  • As it enters into its fourth decade, a relationship described by former Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu as a “marriage made in heaven” seems to be getting stronger with time.


Q) Shared geopolitical interests, historical commonalities, a similar political and cultural trajectory and high levels of mutual support at the civil society level constitute the foundations of the Israel-India relationship. Examine. (250 words)