While Europe has been busy targeting Israeli researchers, artists and filmmakers in recent days, Asian countries like India, China and Japan are taking tangible steps strengthening its ties with Israel.

Last week Norwegian Film festival rejected an Israeli film dealing with disability on the grounds that it “did not deal with occupation” or “discrimination of Palestinians.” In Spain, a music festival barred the Jewish-American reggae star Matisyahu for refusing to comply with the demands of the organizers to publically denounce Israel and endorse the “Palestinian cause” — in keeping with the best traditions of Spanish Inquisition. In Paris “peace activists” threatened and harangued visitors attending a day-long festival celebrating Tel-Aviv’s culture with music and gourmet.

Meanwhile in India, thousands gathered to see the opening on yet another Israeli Agriculture Technology Centre in Gujarat State. Israel runs 30 such centres across India, training farmers in latest agriculture technology and farming techniques.

On the occasion India’s 69th Independence Day on August 15, 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the initiative “Start Up India, Start Up India”, aimed at encouraging individuals to start new ventures and businesses — not just in technology sector. Israel’s Ambassador to India H.E. Mr. Daniel Carmon expressed his country’s support in helping India achieve those aims.

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed India’s initiative to promote start ups, and attributed growing India-Israel ties to the entrepreneurial spirit of both people. Talking to an Indian television channel PM Netanyahu said:

Speaking exclusively to NDTV [PM Netanyahu] said the countries are forming “a wonderful friendship”. Days after Mr Modi announced “Start Up India, Stand Up India” as a mission to launch and nurture entrepreneurs, Mr Netanyahu, whose country is known for its start-up culture, said, “As far as the ‘start up-nation’ (goes), I think this has a lot to do with entrepreneurial spirit. I have noticed that in Silicon Valley… You hear Indian dialects and you hear Hebrew… There is a lot of spirit for enterprise in both our countries.”

Israel is India’s key partner when it comes to start ups, academic and scientific research. This year alone, Indian multinationals have invested millions in Israeli start up and innovation ecosystem, hoping to hires the best talent and acquire cutting-edge technology. India’s private sector involvement in Israel also includes setting up technology incubators and investments in Universities.

Israel too has launched programmes for Indian students, innovators, researchers as well as corporate executives. Every year selected Indian start up founders get a chance to attend the prestigious start-up event “Start Tel Aviv 2015” and connect with Israeli and international leaders in the field. Israel’s Council for Higher Education offers hundreds to scholarships to Indians interested in pursuing higher education in Israel.

Israel-Asia Centre also offers scholarship and leadership programmes to Indian students. The Jerusalem-based centre also runs a MBA and leadership-program exclusively dedicated to Indian women entrepreneurs, giving them skills and exposure to become future leaders in Corporate India.

For a developing country like India, unlocking entrepreneurial potential will be key to its prosperous future. The ‘good old capitalism’ still remain only viable way of reducing poverty and misery known to man. Hundreds and millions have been lifted from extreme poverty in India and China alone, since these two countries shifted from state-controlled socialist economy to open market capitalism.

India has a long way to go, overcoming its 5 decades-long socialist legacy. Bloated bureaucracy and absurd regulations still stifle country’s entrepreneurial spirit, technological innovation, and industrial growth. But giving credit where it’s due, Prime Minister Modi has taken right steps by cutting regulations and reducing state control on the economy. He is also the driving force behind India’s recent pivot to Israel.

Video: Co-author of bestseller “Start Up Nation” Saul Singer talks to Indian and Asian students on growing Israel-Asia cooperation in start up sector and beyond:

[Featured Image Source: NDTV]