Mumbai: About 27 years ago, India announced full diplomatic relations with Israel. Since then, relations between the two counties have been evolving and growing, stated Ya’akov Finkelstein, Consul General of Israel, Mumbai. He said this while delivering a talk at Jai Hind College, which was organised in association with the Free Press Journal and the college authorities.
The talk was organised for the students of International Relations. The response was extremely encouraging, and the hall was filled to the capacity. Both students and the faculty were keen on learning about various aspects of Israel’s relations with India and its neighbours. Addressing the students, Finkelstein said, “It was in 1992 that India announced its full diplomatic relations with Israel.” Since then, he stated, the bonds between both countries have been growing – relating to economic, trade and even defence ties.
Talking about trade relations, Finkelstein said, “The bilateral trade between both countries increased 25 times in 25 years — from USD 192 million to USD 5 billion.” He added that the trade is expected to grow further as Israel is looking at east to share their expertise in the field of research and development. At present, there are many Israeli companies in India. “All big Israeli drip irrigation companies have a strong presence in India,” he said.
Much of the Israeli activity in India relates to helping state governments evolve water related policies which could help agriculture and generate rural wealth. Centres of excellence are also being set up in various parts of the country to promote innovation and to develop local applications.
“India-Israel have together allocated USD 40 million as R&D fund,” the diplomat added.
Another notable development were ties with the Bollywood. He pointed out how ‘Drive’, a Hindi film, has some key scenes shot on Tel Aviv’s beaches and around Jaffa. Such ties are also likely to boost more cinema-related activity and give a huge boost to tourism.