On 21st January 2021, the Takshashila Institution and the Abba Eban Institute hosted the first discussion in a series titled, High-Tech Geopolitics: Perspectives from India and Israel.
The session focused on the Israel-India relationship and how the two countries can collaborate on innovating for the future. The session featured as panellists Amb. Ron Malka (Israeli ambassador to India), Amb. Sanjeev Singla (Indian ambassador to Israel), Amb. Ron Prosor (Head, Abba Eban Institute) and Nitin Pai (Director, Takshashila Institution).
The conversation began with opening remarks by Amb. Sanjeev Singla. He acknowledged that Israel is an emerging leader in the technology sector and India’s immense scientific man-power makes it a perfect partner for Israel. He further stressed the potential for collaboration between India and Israel for cutting-edge innovations, especially in the domains of Space Tech, FinTech, Cybersecurity and Energy.
Following this, in his opening remarks, Amb. Ron Malka asserted that the Indo-Israeli relationship is a shining example to the world on how two nations can collaboratively innovate for the future with mutual trust and respect being the arbiter of the relationship. Amb. Malka stressed that Israel wishes to be a part of India’s effort at becoming a 5-trillion USD economy, with special focus on joint research aimed towards making both nations self-reliant.
Amb. Ron Prosor thereafter underlined the role of the Israeli government’s strategic planning in incentivising the innovation & startup culture in Israel, which has made it the innovation hub that it is today. Amb. Prosor stressed that technology is the base on which the India-Israel relation will move forward in the future.
Following this Nitin Pai remarked that for innovation to happen, mind, money, markets and policy need to come together. He identified four key trends in the tech sphere, which both India and Israel must take into account. These are, the splintering of cyberspace; transnational tech platforms with political power; the challenge of radically networked societies and offensive & defensive cyber-strategies. Pai also asserted the importance of regulatory sandboxes, which can exponentially boost innovation in high-tech sectors.
Responding to an audience question about how China figures into the India-Israel relationship, Nitin remarked that India and Israel have built enough mutual trust, economic and political constituency to now venture beyond bilateral ties and focus on something akin to extra-lateral, to explore how the two countries can shape the world that’s consistent with their shared interests and values. China has a different view of what international norms should be, what relationships between countries and their citizens should be. India and Israel share a value system that makes it imperative that they wouldn’t be a part of this.
Following this Amb. Prosor remarked that it is in Israel’s interest to have access to both the US & Chinese markets but if tensions between the two countries become untenable, Israel will always choose the US. Thereafter, speaking on how India sees the Middle East, Nitin Pai asserted that it is in India’s interest to maintain good relations with all the major players in the region and that India wishes to be a positive contributor in helping the Middle East become a more stable region. Towards the end of the session Amb. Prosor remarked in the context of international cooperation that it is imperative for people to people interaction and cooperation to become the real pillars.
About the Takshashila Institution
The Takshashila Institution is an independent centre for research and education in public policy. It is a non-partisan, non-profit organisation that advocates the values of freedom, openness, tolerance, pluralism and responsible citizenship. The Takshashila Institution seeks to transform India through better public policies, bridging the governance gap by developing better public servants, civil society leaders, professionals and informed citizens.
About the Abba Eban Institute
The Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at IDC Herzliya, together with the Samson Chair for Israeli Public Diplomacy, is a proactive research centre, working to study, theorise, and eventually help craft an innovative, effective, and proactive diplomatic infrastructure for the State of Israel, to strengthen its international relations and diplomatic influence through proactive actions.