Lunch with Orna Sagiv
Tuesday, March 2
Today, our delegation had a lunch meeting with Orna Sagiv, Consul General of Israel to Mumbai. This diplomatic posting is more critical to the Israeli-Indian relationship, and to the average Indian’s perception of Israel, than one might think. Israel’s closest ties to India result from its heavy involvement in India’s developing agricultural industry. In fact, as we learned from CG Sagiv, Israel’s sharing of its advanced drip irrigation technology has made it extremely popular with the Indian people, many of whom are connected with the agriculture industry. With an eye toward the future of this important relationship, CG Sagiv explained that Israel’s challenge is to achieve recognition beyond drip irrigation, which will require a major expansion of Israeli companies’ investment in India and Indian companies’ investment in Israel. Two important areas of commerce that we discussed in detail with CG Sagiv were the vibrant Indian film and entertainment industry and India’s still-developing defense technology industry.
Like many others with whom our group met, CG Sagiv mentioned that India is free of an endemic anti-semitic cultural attitude. Unlike many countries, India’s relationship with Israel has been focused primarily on issues such as tourist visas for Indians and Israelis visiting the two nations and the commercial interconnection between the two countries, rather than the Israeli-Arab conflict. Meeting with SG Sagiv gave our group an excellent foundation regarding the commercial focus of Israeli-Indian relations, and we were able to reflect back on her briefing as we learned more about India and the Indian people.