August 15, 2023
As India celebrates its 76th Independence Day it is clear that India has already managed to position itself as a superpower. The journey which India has completed in the last decade is astonishing and inspiring. It appears that India has taken all the sourest lemons and turned them into lemonade. Nevertheless, there are still some challenges which can be converted into opportunities.
For example: Covid 19 emphasized some of India’s inherent difficulties and challenges in several aspects, such as insufficient public health services, logistics, and availability of oxygen (although India is among the largest producer of oxygen), resulting in a high rate of mortality. However, the same difficulties also generated the determination to become Aatmanirbhar Bharat (“Self Reliant India”) – making India economically, technologically and infrastructurally self-reliant and, furthermore, a major exporter of technological products and capabilities rather than an importer dependent on other countries.
The Self Reliant India policy encourages local companies (with preference given to private sector MSMEs) to develop and manufacture high end products in several sectors such as Defense and Cybersecurity, Health, Fintech, Foodtech and Agro, leading to zero dependency upon other countries, at least with respect to essential interests. This policy materialized by addressing most of the recent government projects and tenders to Indian vendors only. The result of the same is the creation and rapid growth of technological companies and ecosystems which address India’s challenges and at the same time recruit and develop local technical staff. Taking into consideration India’s median age of 28, this policy is nothing less than crucial for the future of India’s young population.
India shows tremendous parameters of growth and strength. With a nominal GDP of 3.28 Trillion USD and an average annual growth rate of about 8%, the Indian economy, currently ranked globally as the 5th largest in the world, is expected to be the 3rd largest in the world by 2030. Furthermore, India’s demographic window is expected to last until 2050, pushing the Indian economy toward global dominance.
However, in addition to the straight forward benefits of the Self Reliant India policy, it is only one part in the big vision to turn India into a global superpower in global politics as well.
Since his election in 2014, PM Modi has made 70 foreign trips, demonstrating India’s significant role in global politics. India was elected as president of the G20 summit in 2023 and it is bidding for a permanent seat at UN Security Council. India is also leveraging its technological capabilities in order to gain global political power. As an example, we can take Modi’s recent visit to Egypt. India and Egypt agreed to elevate the countries’ relations to a strategic level and to the establishment of Indian SEZ in the Suez Canal economic zone, enabling India to export to Egypt Indian technologies including defense technologies, and materializing both India’s political and economic interests.
As a global player, India enjoys full independence in its foreign policies and good relations with all parties including Iran and Russia. In addition, as a growing economy, India is interested in global stability and avoidance of conflicts. As such, Indian may function as stabilizing factor in conflict intensive areas such as the middle east.
Analyzing the above from the Israeli perspective, taking into account that Israel and India hold joint values and interests as well as complementary capabilities, the bilateral relations with India should be considered as super strategic, second only to the relations with the US.
The rapid transformation of the Indian economy from an importing economy to a self-reliant economy and even an exporting economy requires quick acquisition of cutting-edge technologies which will enable India to acquire and maintain technology leadership in various verticals. The same can be achieved either by self-development of such advanced technologies, or by acquisition of such technologies from foreign countries, adapting it to the local requirements and indigenously manufacturing the localized products. Obviously the second alternative is significantly faster and therefore better address the immediate need for such technologies. This situation generates great opportunities to Israeli tech companies which develop and maintain technologies relevant to the Self Reliant India roadmap. Such companies will be exposed to the most promising and growing economy in the world with a potential market of about 1.4 people.
The materialization of the aforesaid will be a win-win situation for both countries economically. From the Israeli foreign policy aspect, joining interests with the next upcoming global superpower, which has already shown its involvement in the Middle East and Africa, is a must.
Adv. Benjamin Grossman is Partner and Head of the Indian Legal Practice at APM & Co., and Vice Chairman of the Israel-India Chamber of Commerce.
Adv. Grossman has been consulting companies from India and Israel and supporting the commercial relations between the two countries since 2001.