Business / Industry Sectors
"Israel sees great opportunity in Medical, Agricultural and Telecom technology sectors in India"
Mr. Yonathan Ben Zaken, Head of Economic & Trade Mission at the Embassy of Israel in New Delhi enlightens the readers of Israel-India Business on the sectors of economic interest for Israel in India and the ever increasing cooperation between the two countries

Mr. Yonathan Ben Zaken has been in India in the capacity of Head of Economic & Trade Mission at the Embassy of Israel in New Delhi for two years now. He has found his tenure to be both productive and challenging. 

Serving in India has been a great learning experience. He believes that great strides can be made by the industrial and agricultural sectors of Israel and India. 


You have spent two years in your capacity of Head of Economic & Trade Mission at the Embassy of Israel in India. Can you briefly describe your experience?

“Well, it’s been an amazing journey.  I have spent two years here. India is challenging. We are already able to see the fruits for our hard work. We are focusing on potential areas and niche markets where we think Israel has potential in”.


How does dealing with Indian business people and industry differ from your experiences in your other postings?

“My experience is diverse. Most people I interact with in India are very smart people who know how to do business and this is why it is challenging”.


Can you please pinpoint some highlights of your tenure as Head of Economic Trade Mission?

“We are working very hard on opening up areas like medical devices from the commercial and regulatory aspects of the business. Last year, we focused on urban water management. In agriculture, the focus is on post-harvest treatment and chain of supply. And the most important process under way is the negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement between Israel and India that we have been working on for some time now”.


Bilateral civilian trade between Israel and India has crossed the US$ 4 billion mark. In which sectors have you seen sizable increase?

“Over the last two years there has been a slowdown in civilian trade in terms of the numbers. There are various reasons for this, namely the noticeable downturn in overall trade between India and other countries, the strong Israeli shekel, the declining value of the US dollar, etc. We are, however, working hard to increase trade in various sectors”.  


There has been noticeable interest in agricultural cooperation. How do you rate the concept of Centers of Excellence in which Israel has played such a remarkable role? 

“Amazing projects have been completed and are on display. These have shown that, on the ground, productivity can increase by introducing Israeli technology. This has increased yield substantially. Projects like these have proved to be feasible physically and financially. Banks have recognized the utility of these projects and have seen that they are sustainable. Across the board they have been a total success – this is proof that Israeli technology is useful in India”.


How do you foresee trade between the two countries? In what areas should the focus be on?

“We are active in five sectors – Agrotechnology, Water Technology, Homeland Security, ICT, and Medical Devices. These are the sectors that I see increasing cooperation in. Israel has a strong and competitive industry, with many advantages. We have a strong Water Industry, same with IT and Agrotech. Secondly, local markets in India are large in each of these sectors. Over the past few years, there has been 25% growth in Med Tech, telecom and Agro Tech in India”.


How would you describe your experience in India - with its people, its places of interest, its culture and its traditions?

“We love India. we love the food, we love the people. We were advised before we arrived here -  'You can either hate it or love – but you won’t be indifferent'. So true! The country is amazing and challenging”.


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