President Reuven Rivlin (L) and Indian PM Narendra Modi in New Delhi in November. (Mark Neyman/GPO) (Mark Neyman/GPO)
Rivlin India

The Jewish people’s ancient ties with India are at a peak after 25 years of diplomatic ties. 

On January 29, 1992, the foreign ministers of Israel and India signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“The formal establishment of relations was predicated on the already strong links between the peoples of our two ancient cultures, going back centuries to the Jewish merchants who plied the trade routes to Mumbai, Kochi and the other port cities of India,” Israel’s foreign ministry stated.

Today, close to 100,000 Israelis boast Indian descent and are among the many valuable links between the two countries.

In 2003, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon became the first Israeli leader to visit India, and the “Delhi Statement on Friendship and Cooperation between India and Israel” was signed.

This important document led to the upgrading of the relationship between the two countries in various issues, including high-tech, agriculture, water, health, education, defense, smart cities, research and, of course, diplomacy.

Israel and India enjoy the sharing of technological development, and India is one of Israel’s biggest clients in the defense technologies market. In 2013, India was Israel’s 10th-largest trading partner and its third-largest in Asia, after China and Hong Kong.

Relations between the two countries have warmed up considerably in recent years, especially since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office.

Prime Ministers Netanyahu and Modi met at the UN in September 2014, the first such meeting in over a decade.

“We’re very excited by the prospects of greater and greater ties with India. We think the sky is the limit,” Netanyahu stated after their meeting.

The relationship was given a further boost during the visit of President Pranab Mukherjee to Israel in 2015 and the reciprocal visit of President Reuven Rivlin to India this past December.

“Today, the Government of Israel is in the process of finalizing an initiative which will promote and fund programs that will ensure the continued enhancement and expansion of our mutual cooperation,” the foreign ministry stated.

The Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are promoting joint business ventures, agricultural programs, tourism and other joint projects. The Foreign Ministry will also be spearheading a special program to bring young Indian leaders to Israel, from multiple fields of interest, in order to learn what Israel has to offer and to realize the potential for cooperation and collaboration.

Israel’s latest venture in India was the launching of a unique campaign to boost tourism to Israel.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel

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