In a show of support to India's abrogation of article 370 and 35A in Jammu and Kashmir, Israeli Ambassador to India Ron Malka said, 'we see it as something that’s an Indian issue. India is the biggest democracy in the world, respects individual rights, respects the rule of law and we are sure India will deal with this issue appropriately and a in peaceful way.'
Talking to members of Indian Association of Foreign Affairs Correspondents in the context of the cancellation of Prime Minister Natenyehu's visit to India just before his cruicial elections on September 17, Malka said, 'there are may schedule constraints and they are not about importance but about urgency. Sometimes things that are less important are more urgent. India is very important and a meeting will be sketched out after elections in Israel.' About the issues of elections in Israel he said, 'Elections in Isreal are first and foremost on security, then economic situation and some social issues.'
With a 100,000 Indian jews living in Israel, India Israel enjoy strategic partnership and Israel being leader in technology and innovation has been partnering with India is diverse fields of defence, agriculture, water, cyber and space. Interacting with members of Indian Association of Foreign Affairs Correspondents, the envoy talked on a variety of issue.
An economist himself, Malka emphasised on developing financial markets, a key component in progressing India Israel relations. He informed that Israel is engaging with India's leading financial institutions like SEBI, Central Banks, RBI and stock exchanges. Meetings have been held between their Chairmans' and CEO's in domains of mutual cooperation. He hopes companies of both nations will be soon listed in each others stock exchanges.
Agriculture is a major collaboration area between Israel and India. Israel runs 28 centres of excellence with Israeli expertise for excellence sharing. In 2018, 1,47,000 Indian farmers were trained in these centres of excellence. They are now upgrading to villages of excellence. Israel is working on increasing farmers income, trying to cut middlemen to bring changes to improve farmers conditions.
Similarly mutual projects in the area of usage of water are a part of strategic partnership which also include water security, food security, cyber security, technology. Malka informed that water experts from Israel shared their experience, methods, techniques with 1200 experts from 256 districts in India suffering from scarcity of water. Israel, once a water parched country that started with low availability of water now has abundance of water through their innovative techniques of harvesting water. With innovation Israel has acheived a turnaround in water sector. Malka said, 'rainfall in Israel has doubled 50%, multiplied 5 times. We declared a policy of water independence as we couldnt rely on weather for water. So we developed technologies for harvesting rain, desalination, particularly sea water and brackish water. We reuse 90% of water.' Israel has developed 'Precision Agriculture' which is essentially using satellites and drones to monitor fields that will tell exact amount of water each field/ plant uses. 'We are keen to share our techniques with India using frontier and state of the art technologies and prevent doing the mistakes that we did.'
Israel is collaborating in Ayushman Bharat too. Minicing no words Malka said, 'With PM Modi's Invest in India call, for Israel companies make in India is natural as Israel a small country and there's shortage of manpower in all kind of skills. So for us to come to India, upscale our technology and Make in India is only natural. For Israel, Make in India and exporting the products to other countries, we need to spread innovation. We want to see India a strong economic power and a strong player in international arena.' Under the same flagship programme a new plant has been set up in Hyderabad which is a joint venture of Isreali company and an Indian defence company.
Israel being a leader in cyber security, Malka says, 'The most important thing about cyber security is to be one step ahead to defend yourself. Since India is a close friend and strategic partner we shared with India many frameworks eg there is a national cyber security adviser. We are working together on systems to protect power plants against cyber attacks.'
On the vexed issue of Palestine, Malka said, 'We cannot negotiate our existance unless we have a partner that recognize the bacis right to live and exist. We will find solution.'
Advocating tough sanctions for keeping Iran under pressure, Israel feels that this will bring Iran to the table of negotiations to settle a new and lasting agreement that will bring prosperity of Iranian people and country which is neessary for stopping the 'radical regime expansion which has mass destruction weapons specially that will lead to total annhilation of Iran.' 'Any kind of terrorisn should be a cause of concern. Terrorism is not only the problem of India and Isreal, its a world problem and so we should get united and work,' he said in the context of terrorist attacks in India.