India and Israel have had a long and fruitful history of bilateral development cooperation, especially since 1992 when formal diplomatic relations were established. With the new emphasis of the Indian government on promotion of entrepreneurial activity, business and academic contacts between the two countries assumed heightened significance. The recent visit of the Prime Minister of India to Israel emphasized the prominence of the relationship and heightened public awareness, particularly in Israel.
Traditionally, economic partnerships between India and Israel have been in the defence and aerospace sectors. There are immense opportunities in extending the scope of partnership to other domains. These include agrifood-tech, digital health, fin tech, Industry 4.0, mobile and telecom, and water and energy.
India-Israel economic relationships are based on a fundamental complementarity. Israel offers a vibrant technology-based innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. India seeks to gain from this because of its strong aspirational entrepreneurial spirit. India offers a large market with innovative opportunities for penetration. Israel seeks to gain from this because of its strong aspiration for market scale up.
Given the nature of complementarity, the essence of the India-Israel business relationship will be boosted by a deeper appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of the two sides, and the judicious and contextually intelligent structuring of collaboration.
With such an increase in business collaboration between India and Israel, some areas of opportunity, which need deeper academic and managerial involvement, are emerging. These include understanding of technology innovation, business strategy and history, government policies and culture. This provides the scope for collaborations amongst academic institutions between the two countries.
During the Israeli President's visit to India in November 2016, more than 20 agreements were signed between the heads of Israeli and Indian universities aimed at increasing academic cooperation, student and faculty exchanges, and research partnerships.