Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar’s visit last week was groundbreaking for many reasons, and while many reacted with joy, some nations may have been wary. For countries that have had full diplomatic relations for a relatively short time, the Indian Foreign Minister was incredibly enthusiastic about bilateral relations, but also about new multilateral possibilities. The new quadrilateral alliance with the United States of America and the UAE sends a message to China and reaffirms the United States’ commitment to the region. China has long posed a major economic challenge for India, threatening to engulf many of India’s border regions. A strong alliance between these four countries is a smart geostrategic partnership and can curb China’s economic expansionism in the Middle East.
These have been important steps, not only for the obvious financial benefits. Israel and India have historically had a relationship that has focused on defense and security. India has benefited from significant military collaboration and support from Israel. By building on an exclusively military alliance, the political friendship of the two countries is opened from the secret of the defense link. Transparency allows for a positive outlook and provides a wealth of opportunities for business and investment.
It is worth remembering that diplomatic relations between the two nations were only established in 1992. India’s policy towards Israel thawed significantly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. India and Israel worked closely together, but it took an Indian prime minister until 2017 to visit Israel.
As the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations approaches, the frequency of high-level state visits indicates that diplomatic relations continue to flourish. Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid commented that India offered “new opportunities for cooperation.” Jaishankar met with Israeli business leaders and listened carefully to their concerns regarding the levels of bureaucracy that foreign companies face in India. This level of discourse is extremely promising for business leaders in the two countries.
Both Israel and India have also pledged to resume free trade agreement negotiations in November. This is an important step towards consolidating India’s position, especially as a global player in technology and innovation, and it bodes well for new trade agreements with other countries, such as Canada. For entrepreneurs in all industries, this increases the incentive to collaborate with Israeli partners. Merchandise trade and exports will certainly grow under the right conditions and investment will appear more attractive.
Mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccine certificates was an important step, especially for those of us looking to travel for business. It also provides hope for healthcare and MedTech partnerships. During the pandemic, Israeli scientists have been collecting samples from more than 20,000 Indian patients, hoping to use the data to create rapid testing methods. Collaboration is not just a benefit to business communities, but new partnerships in our shared humanitarian and scientific efforts could have a global impact.
Business and science are important spaces, but intercultural collaboration is key to unlocking broader social exchange, not just government treaties. In November 2019, Drive became the first Hindi film to be shot in Israel, following its filming in Tel Aviv. The film was funded by the Israel Ministry of Tourism and the Prime Minister’s Office, in the hope that introducing Israel to the wider Indian population would lead to a boost in tourism.
In 2020, the two countries signed a cultural agreement to further strengthen ties between their peoples and promote understanding of each other’s cultures and religions. This agreement covers art, archeology, literature and language, emphasizing participation in the broader social sphere. Cultural understanding is key to promoting relationships between nations, enables cooperation, and teaches us to recognize our shared humanity.
The key to stopping racial and religious hatred is to encourage dialogue. Of course, there are many differences between these two ancient cultures, but there are many significant synergies: a history of suffering and repression has informed both cultures, and in their relatively short histories, Israel and India became the states that they are today. . of the Second World War. Both nations have become powerful powers to contend with on the world stage, pioneers of science, technology, and medicine. Israel and India are showing the world that, by working together, they can accomplish wonders.
The writer is the founder and CEO of Chishti Group, a global conglomerate operating in a number of industries, including transportation, agriculture, asset management, IT, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, fashion, and commodities. He is also an author and thought leader promoting Holocaust awareness in the Muslim community.