from the October 2012 issue

How Israel became India's most important partner in arms bazaar

Israelis never tire of telling the story of David Ben-Gurion's great respect for Mahatma Gandhi. The founder of Israel, Ben-Gurion's few possessions when he quit active politics and retreated into a shack in a kibbutz in his late years included a portrait of India's father of the nation which enjoyed pride of place in his small study. So deep is the connection between India and Israel, they assure you.

It's an irony then that India and Israel established diplomatic ties only as late as 1992 though the Jewish nation was founded in 1948, a year after India became independent. "But the two countries were always natural allies," says Yossi Melman, award-winning Israeli journalist. And nowhere is this "natural alliance" more evident than in defence where Israel has become India's second-largest supplier; in 2009, the West Asian nation briefly overtook Russia, India's largest and the oldest defence supplier.

For all to see, the business relationship is thriving: in the past decade alone, Israeli defence sales to India surpassed $10 billion and the exports are expected to grow faster in the coming years.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report October 2012

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