Time for India to edge closer to Israel
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign visits have been hogging reams of newspaper space and prime time in television channels across the world. His recent visit to France, Germany and Canada made the international media and diplomatic communities sit up and keenly observe the Modi Government’s foreign strategy as India consolidates special relationships with strategic European nations in its journey towards becoming a global superpower. However interestingly, the domestic as well as the global media community which has created much fanfare and pageantry surrounding India’s bilateral ties with foreign nations under the Modi regime has shut its eyes to the pivotal India-Israel relationship. The result is that the recent substantive dialogues between Modi and his Israeli counterpart and with the Israeli President in New York and Singapore respectively went virtually unnoticed.
Our Foreign Desk in this edition brings to Bureaucracy Today readers the essentiality and significance of India’s relations with Israel. The Indo-Israel ties are not only diplomatic or trade-based but they also are civilisational – a point conveniently overlooked by some countries and a section of the Indian political class which sees the blossoming of the relations a threat to their vested interests.
With India emerging as one of the biggest buyers of Israeli defence equipment, there has been a perception that the relations between the two democracies are restricted to the defence sector only. But nothing could be more far from the truth. Apart from defence Israel has a proven track record in cyber security, water management, agricultural technology and rapid house-building with pre-fabricated material. Israeli technology can not only help the Modi Government to realise its ambitious “Digital India” and “Smart Cities” projects but also help India in managing its water resources better and meeting its food challenges.
Unfortunately, the long hiatus in India-Israel relations during the UPA rule years between 2004 and 2014 has resulted in loss of time and dissipated initiative. India must vigorously engage with Israel and make up for the lost decade. Modi’s meeting with the Israeli leaders signals the end of a decade-long freeze in the relations between the two countries. Now it would be interesting to see how Modi forges the framework with Israel for future talks on specific issues.
Back home, bureaucratic power circuits these days are abuzz with the talk over who will be the next Cabinet Secretary of India. The hunt to fill up the seniormost bureaucratic position in the Central Government has gained momentum as the tenure of incumbent Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth is all set to end in June this year. Adhocism has become a disturbing trend in the Indian governance system. The most prominent example of adhocism at the top bureaucratic level is the manner of continuing the service of incumbent Cabinet Secretary Seth who has been given extension three times. Strong leaderships in key posts play a pivotal role in the development of a nation and the trend of “stand-by” and “additional charge” appointment exercises not only delays the important decision-making process but also adds to the confusion. It would be interesting to see the Modi Government’s move in filling up the top bureaucratic post in the coming days. Amidst speculations surrounding the appointment of the next Cabinet Secretary, our Special Report reflects the buzz in the corridors of powers on the issue.
In this edition we also bring to light the lesser known facets of the business conglomerate DCM Shriram Industries Ltd which is thriving on internal bonding and mutual understanding. Our Cover Story is the tale of how the Shriram Brothers have resolved to stick together and take their business empire to new heights at a time when other family businesses are cleaving under the pressure of tussle and disagreements between close relations.