Defense ties have long underpinned Indian-Israeli relations, but a string of deals signed this week reflected wider cooperation that could benefit Indian companies seeking advanced technologies and could pave the way for Israeli firms to access millions of consumers.
On Wednesday, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said India signed several agreements with Israel on science, agriculture and technology, as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s historic visit to the country, 25 years after both nations established diplomatic relations.
The agreements included the decision to create a bilateral technology innovation fund worth $40 million for research in industrial development, and to establish a strategic partnership in water and agriculture to focus on water conservation, waste-water treatment and its reuse for agriculture and desalination, among other deals.
Richard Rossow, senior adviser and Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at CSIS, said that while Israel has historically been a supplier of defense equipment to India, the two countries have natural synergies in other areas.
“Israel’s becoming a more important defense partner for India, a source of great technology, not just in the defense space, but in biotechnology (and) agriculture,” he told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Thursday. “A lot of the things were reflected in that joint statement.”
Rossow said that closer ties could lead to more investments from both countries.
“India’s good at large-scale things, like call centers and software development, but Israel’s doing package software. India’s doing back-office biotech research, but Israel actually has products that are out there in the global markets more than India does,” he said.
“So it could be Israeli companies looking for a larger production base, in which case India’s ready to go.”