India-Israel relationship is plateauing. Can PM Modi’ visit change this?

Starting tomorrow, 4th of July, Prime Minister Modi will commence the first visit by any Indian Prime Minister to Israel. While the commentariat waxes eloquent on the relationship, it is important for us to have a reality check and understand the micro-dynamics of this marriage.
There are three main components of India’s cooperation with Israel that are deemed to hold the potential to “revolutionise” the relationship – water, agriculture and defence.

Given India’s increasing water problems, and dire predictions of further drop in precipitation over the next few decades, water cooperation between India and Israel is obviously critical. Israel has now transitioned from a water-deficit state to one with a significant water-surplus. It has managed this through pioneering water desalination techniques. All good then – why can’t India benefit from this? Several reasons. First is that the desalination plants themselves have a massive ground footprint and draw huge amounts of energy. Given how many problems even routine industrial land acquisitions face in India, there are limits to how much land can in fact be requisitioned for the building of coastal desalination plants. Moreover, the question remains how much energy can India’s already overdrawn energy sector spare for a desalination plant infrastructure to supplement the water requirements of 1.3 billion Indians. As it is, READ MORE