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February 11, 2015 5:49 pm

The Next Big Thing: India-Israel Defense Start Ups

avatar by Vijeta Uniyal

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

With economic growth and demand slowing down in Europe, the sun for Israel’s export-oriented economy is rising in the East.

China and India, the two giant economies of Asia, not only offer attractive growth prospects – in contrast to the saturated markets of continental Europe – but their populations also widely view Israel favourably.

Especially in the case of India, Israel is well placed to meet some key strategic demands of the country today. India, under the new government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has embarked on an ambitious plan to increase the share of domestic manufacturers in defense procurement.

With the third largest military in the world, India is one of the largest importers of defense equipment; the country’s 2014 defense budget was more than $37 billion, and more than 60% of defense requirements were met with imports.

India’s defense research agency, DRDO, wants to bridge the gap in technological innovation at home, and has decided to promote start-up ventures in the Defense Sector.

This is a marked change in the country’s defense doctrine, which largely has focused on the public sector. The proposed DRDO fund encourages start-ups to proactively come up with solutions and innovations in the defense field.This has already led Indians and Israelis to work together.

Israel and India are already working on big ticket defense items, like the Barak-8 surface-to-air missile jointly developed by India’s DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd (IAI). The missile system will be be deployed on the indigenously built Naval Destroyer INS Kolkata.

Later this month, the countries’ mutual defense cooperation is set to get yet another boost when Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon visits India – the first ever official visit by an Israeli Defense Minister since the establishment of diplomatic ties between India and Israel in 1991.

Just like Israel, India also has a vibrant start-up scene, and several government programs and funds have already been instituted to enable and promote Israeli innovators and entrepreneurs to team up with Indian counterparts.

The Jerusalem-based Israel-Asia Center (IAC) offers one such program to help Indian entrepreneurs link-up with Israel.

IAC’s founder and Executive Director Rebecca Zeffert has noticed rising interest amongst young Indians in Israel, “not only as a study destination, but also as an incubator for finding solutions to global challenges. [Indians] are coming here to plug into Israel’s innovation and entrepreneurial energy, develop their ideas and ventures, and establish partnerships with Israeli counterparts.”

Indian entrepreneur Vishal Dharmadhikari is one such success story. After getting a master’s degree in Security and Diplomacy Studies from Tel Aviv University and completing IAC’s leadership fellowship program in 2013, Dharmadhikari went back to India and launched a cyber-security company – India Cyber Connect.

This rise in the defense industry can help strengthen ties between these two great democracies: Israel and India.

Vijeta Uniyal is an Indian-born journalist based in Germany.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • Joshua

    Well done, Vijeta!

    • Vijeta

      Thank you Joshua!

  • Ilana Bar-Hai

    I am so glad our countries have a good relationship. Thank you for the article.

    • Jagdish

      No doubt… We should have Illana 🙂

      Take care and God Bless you 🙂

  • Gurpreet Singh

    After Russia there is only nation on the planet earth which good be a great great friend of India is Israel only.

    • Jagdish

      Hahaha… Yeah, you are absolutely right there mate 🙂

      Take care and God Bless you 🙂

  • ashok Malhotra

    What a fantastic scenario !

    • Jagdish

      Absolutely right friend Ashok… Its a great name 🙂

      Take care and God Bless you 🙂

  • As the USA has many rules that India has to comply with prior to big ticket or joint production with the big brother, Indian army is weakened by lack of modern technology. Besides China with her ever surging economy has the funds to match the USA in the coming times. Besides the amount assistance she gives to Pakistan for development and military equipment certainly will overwhelm the Indian strength. There are no fighter planes that match F16 categories even if India purchases the 5th generation fighter planes from Russia or the Rafael from France. Sukoi30 MK1 will not sustain any future air wars. India’s effort for collaboration with other countries or the active participation of Indian private sectors, remains as of today a far cry. The only solution is for India to join Israel to meet the requirements until India emerges as an innovative entity. India, has so far has not come out with her own innovation of arms to beat the technologies currently available. The dearth of expertise to assimilate the sophisticated technologies purchased, is a troublesome aspect, as we see in the case of Rafael. India at this moment is ailing from the inability of making vital decisions. Abandon the USA and embrace Israel as a solution to the woes.

    • Later

      Stop blabbering mental diarrea man !

    • Shera

      I agree. India needs to partner with Israel for the big ticket items.

    • Jagdish

      Hi friend there…. Robert 🙂

      You are correct but, we should understand that we shall have to maintain peace with all the other countries which have a progressive mindsets like Israel, US, UK, EU, China, Japan Austrailia, NZ, etc 🙂

      Take care and God Bless you 🙂

  • Helena

    What is also important is the fact that they both have the same enemy, fundamentalism-islamism at their doorstep!

    • Jagdish

      Thats absolutely correct Helena 🙂

      Take care and God Bless you 🙂

    • Aroon

      You are right Helena.For several decades relations between India and Israel suffered coz of unfriendly regime in INDIA but now with a new Govt at power we hope resurgence in INDO ISRAEL relations.LONG LIVE ISRAEL!

  • whether israel does have relationship with india or not embattled pakistan and north korea may sell nuclear weapons to isis if they feel threatened

    • Jagdish

      Thats sad but its true friend :/ I hope one day, Islam will adopt progressive attitude rather than their own Islamic Ideologies!!

      Take care and God Bless you 🙂