India is in dialogue with Israel for conducting a free trade agreement, announcement made by the Commerce and Industry minister coincides with the 30th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.


  • Although India Israel relationship started comparatively late and Israel was also late in the establishing diplomatic relations with India but it has definitely emerged as an important partner in various fields most importantly in the military field
  • The relationship of India and Israel is an important part of international political scenario

Historical perspective

  • A survey of past would reveal that both India and Israel represent ancient civilization and share a British colonial past
  • The two countries became independent in 1947 and 1948 , both being born out of partitions
  • Both the countries have successfully maintained democratic regions, but despite of the fact of having substantial similarities it took more than four decades for them to establish a warm relationship including full diplomatic relations, flourishing bilateral trade and strategic cooperation

Cultural relations

  • The relation between India and Israel can be traced from the centuries back, India and the Jews have maintained relations in ancient period and have called India as 'Hodu'
  • The ties between Indian and Israeli people go as far back as the times of first temple when the first Jewish community settled in India and flourished

Timeline of India Israel relations

  • The basic structure of Indo Israel relations was laid down by the first prime minister of India, however the status of relationship did not flourish in a significant way
  • It was in 1963,  three months after the border conflict with China that the government of India showed willingness to consult the Israeli specialists in military matters
  • However, the changes in international geo strategic environment compelled India to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992


  • Geo political situation: there appears to be a similarity in understanding of a geo political situation at the base of relationship between India and Israel
    • Both are surrounded by strong and hostile neighbours
    • Some experts have also stated that the relationship is in a sense of compulsion because of the fact that both countries consider their relationship as a resultant of strategic imperative, since both have to face the threat of terrorism from the neighbouring countries
  • Technology: for India Israel is a source of high technology in many areas including military related industry and it is evident even more after post Pokhran sanctions on India
    • Any meaningful relationship between India and Israel is more likely to cover joint research, joint production and technology transfer
  • Access to market: for Israel India is a large and lucrative market

Bilateral relations between India and Israel

  • It is generally said that the bilateral relations between India and Israel hinge on the three pegs- economic, defence and people to people contacts
  • India maintained a safe distance from Israel until late 1980s but in spite of  that significant bilateral activities were carried out between two countries which brought them nearer
  • Since 1992 the multi-dimensional relationship between the two countries have started to flourish and the bond of relationship has started to get crystallized
  • The major areas of bilateral relationship between the countries include- economic, military, agricultural and political


  • The cosmetic changes in the international strategic environment have acted as a propelling force on the part of India to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1992
  • By mid 1992, India and Israel had made considerable progress on possibilities of cooperation in military matters
  • The base of the military relationship between the two countries lies in the fact that India is the largest customer of Israeli military equipments
  • Israel has been among the top four arms suppliers to India for almost two decades, with military sales worth around $1 billion every year
  • Israel is the second largest military partner of India after Russia
  • The main reason for India's bending towards Israel lies in the fact that Israel has gained the position of world leader in missiles, sensors, cyber security and various defence subsystems
  • The aspect of defence cooperation got an initial start with arm supplies to India during the 1999 Kargil conflict
  • Presently as a part of defence cooperation between the two countries, Indian armed forces have inducted a wide array of Israeli weapons systems over the years which range from AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) and Heron, Searcher-II and Harop drones to Barak anti missile defence systems and spider quick reaction anti-aircraft missile systems
  • The military ties between the two countries have got extended upto joint military training programmes undertaken on the part of both the countries
  • India and Israel have increased cooperation in the domain of military and intelligence ventures since the establishment of diplomatic relations
  • It can be said that the rise of Islamic extremist terrorism in both the countries have paved the way for a strong strategic Alliance between India and Israel


  • Palestinian issue: Experts have commented about the third person in the room, it has been seen that India has been doing a diplomatic balancing act between Israel and Palestinians managing to maintain strong relations with both parties
    • New Delhi's seemingly unwavering support for palestinians at United Nations also poses challenge for Indo Israel relations
  • Concerns with India-Iran ties: it has been seen that even though Israel has manifested some reservations regarding India's relationship with Iran but India still considers Iran as an important partner
  • China-Israel cooperation: just like Israel is concerned about Indian ties with Iran, India has same thing about Israeli relationship with China


It is a matter of great importance that India Israel relationship is growing stronger in terms of personal engagement by the leaders of both the countries, presently it can be said that bilateral relationship between India and Israel is on a smooth plane and talks of bilateral free trade agreement can help in further strengthening of ties

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