With many European campuses and lecture halls serving as training grounds for anti-Israel activism and boycott campaigns, Universities and research institutions in India are queuing up to cooperate with Israel.

This week, Tel Aviv University signed cooperation agreements with three leading academic institutions in India. University of Mumbai, Wellingkar Institute of Management and Amity University agreed on series of joint programmes including short-term faculty exchange, holding joint research workshops and exchanging doctoral candidates. This move would strengthen Tel Aviv University’s existing extensive cooperation with Indian educational institutions. Engineering students from India already attend summer courses in cyber security and entrepreneurship at Tel Aviv University — both areas of vital importance to India.

India too brings its own set of strengths on the table. Indian educational and research institutions offer a talent pool that is comparable to any major developed country in the world.

Recently, Israel’s IDC Herzliya also signed wide-ranging agreements with several leading Indian universities and academic institutions.

India, once dubbed as the “23rd Arab State” for its unwavering support for the “Palestinian Cause”, has moved closer to Israel in recent years.

Growing defence and trade ties, as well as election victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP-coalition, has brought about a fundamental change in India’s stand towards Israel.

In an interview to Indian newspaper Hindustan Times [September 10, 2014], Israel’s Ambassador Daniel Carmon described this new openness with which India is pursuing bilateral ties with Israel:

(…) India and Israel have been cooperating for many years in many areas. We attach great importance to visibility. I’m talking about a trend — it did not happen in a day. I’m talking about the process — it did not start yesterday. We have been witnessing this change and now I am so glad that we can talk about it, nobody has to apologise. On the contrary, both India and Israel are very proud of this relation.

Israel enjoys flourishing trade ties with China as well, but unlike China, Israel’s cooperation with India in not limited to trade and technology but extends to defence and counter-terrorism as well.

Israel’s growing ties with Asian giants like China and India is a testament to Israel’s accomplishments in field of technology and innovation. Today, India seeks Israeli expertise in industrial research, food security and defence modernisation. Since 1990s trade between India and Israel has picked up from just about 200 million to over $5 in 2014-15. Indian technology firms are making substantial investments in Israeli start-up eco-system.

India also shares a special historic and traditional bond with the Jewish people. Today, about 75,000 Jews of Indian-origin live in Israel.

To cement diplomatic relations India’s President Pranab Mukherjee is expected to visit Israel next month, making it the first ever visit by an Indian head of state to Israel. Prime Minister Modi’s much anticipated visit to the Jewish State is also on the cards.

Video: Israel’s growing clout in IT- and cyber security sector (Courtesy: Arutz Sheva TV):

(Image courtesy: Tel Aviv Universitry)