Dr Ron Malka is the Ambassador of Israel to India. In an exclusive interview to Manish Rai, Editor of Viewsaround and a geo-political analyst he spoke about various dynamics related to Indo-Israel relations. Following is the detailed interview of Dr Malka conducted via exchange of emails with Embassy of Israel, New Delhi.
Question- What do you think are important factors which contributed in strengthening of India-Israel relations in recent time?
Answer: I think the most important factor in the growing partnership between India and Israel more than all of the different fields of cooperation, is the chemistry of trust and mutual appreciation we have for one another. Whenever Indians and Israelis meet there is an instant connection and it is a formula that works so well. You can see success stories born from Indo-Israeli cooperation in so many fields and it is a joy to witness.
Question- It's often said that India and Israel are natural allies as they both have common enemy that is extremist Jihadist forces. What are your views over this?
Answer: India and Israel have a lot in common. We have shared values, shared interests and shared challenges, which often find shared solutions. However, when it comes to terrorism, we must remember that it is not only about India and Israel. Terrorism is a growing global disease and the cure can only be found in a global solution. We are proud to collaborate with a global leader like India in bringing awareness to this phenomenon to the international community, but it will take all of us together to stop terror.
Question- India is the largest buyer of Israeli arms with average sales of $1 billion each year. Is this relationship being strategic in nature or just a commercial one?
Answer: What started many years ago as seller-buyer relations has grown and widened to a comprehensive strategic partnership. This synergetic, successful cooperation strengthens both nations, making them more self-reliant. Today, you can see many Israeli companies who are here to Make in India, and Make with India as our President Rivlin said during his visit. The Indian and Israel markets do not compete with one another but complete one another. India’s manufacturing capabilities and upscaling capabilities are beyond anything Israel can achieve alone, and Israeli technology and Innovation is sought by many industries, companies and government entities in India. This collaboration does not stop with joint production, but we also look forward to joint development, R&D, joint design and in future also joint export to third countries.
Question- What's your opinion regarding India annexing Kashmir and alleged reports of human rights violations by Indian armed forces?
Answer: India is the biggest democracy in the world; it respects human rights and seeks peace. We expect to see India ease tensions in a peaceful democratic way.
Question- How you see the future of Indo-Israeli relations in terms of people-to-people contact?
Answer: The scope for expanding the relations is huge. I truly believe that our partnership will only continue to grow and deepen. There is genuine curiosity on both sides to know each other’s histories, cultures and traditions. We have so much respect and appreciation for one another. We are two ancient peoples proud of their heritage and two modern democracies eager to grasp the future. With every contact between Indians and Israelis, we see beautiful friendships created and fruitful partnerships formed. I believe that now, with increased connectivity between Tel Aviv and Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi and Goa this trend will continue to be on the rise for the foreseeable future.
Question- How can India and Israel strengthen cooperation in the fields of trade and space technology?
Answer: The beautiful thing about the India-Israel partnership is that even the sky is not the limit. We are already seeing collaboration between academia, companies, research organizations and more in many scientific fields including space. All of these collaborations are enriching both our countries and out peoples, and in some cases making a difference worldwide. We need to stop thinking about our economic relations only in trade numbers and look at the bigger picture: India and Israel are working together in almost every field, making the world a better place one partnership at a time. I am proud to be a part of that.