Spring 2003


Indian Ambassador Advises: ‘Go East, Young Man’

India ’s Ambassador to Israel sees his country as a “natural partner” for Israel , advises Israeli companies to look east to the huge market that India offers, and “is delighted” at the visits by Israeli youth to his country, which he called an investment in the future.  In regard to these visits, Ambassador Raminder Singh Jassal joked, “Both countries are full of Israelis.”

            The ambassador, himself a historian, was a guest lecturer of the Dept. of East Asian Studies in late March, and his talk on Israel-India relations was given in the context of a course on Modern Indian History, the first such course in Israel .  It also marked ten years since diplomatic relations were established between the two countries, which together, as the ambassador deadpanned, comprise one fifth of humanity.

            Noting that there were nearly 70,000 Israelis of Indian origin, Ambassador Jassal listed a number of points that India and Israel also shared.  Among these are outer space (a cooperative agreement was signed last year), strategic and defense autonomy, a mixed economic platform, the process of globalization and privatization, the challenge of multiculturalism, and countering terrorism (a joint working group has been set up on the issue). 

He acknowledged that diamonds constituted by far the largest trade commodity between Israel and India , accounting for nearly a third of the value of all trade between the two.  He also mentioned that an electric car developed in India was being sent to Beersheba for experimental use.

            Jassal attributed what he termed “the success of democracy” in his country of one billion residents to the basic ethos of Hinduism.  He observed that he himself was a Sikh, married to a Hindu Brahmin, and that his wife was now studying Kabbala.


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