During a state visit to India made 14-18 January, 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Indian Prime Minister Nahendra Modi further cemented ties between the two countries with a range of agreements that cover cooperation in a number of areas, to include space.
In a joint statement issued on January 15, 2018, by both the Indian and Israeli foreign ministries, Prime Ministers Netanyahu and Modi “noted with satisfaction,” that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) are cooperating across a number space science, exploration, and satellite technology areas.
ISRO and ISA are cooperating under the aegis of a Plan of Cooperation and two Memoranda of Understanding.
This affirmation was followed by a new Memorandum of Understanding between the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, located in Haifa, Israel, and the Indian Institute of Space Science and Space Technology.
This new cooperation agreement sets the stage for student and faculty exchanges, post-doctoral fellowships, possible joint degree programmes, and receiprocal academic visits between the two institutions.
“The intention is not only to promote cooperation between the two institutions, but also among the academic institutions and various companies in the industry. India is very strong in the launching field; at the end of this year, three Israeli- built nano-satellites will fly in the first flight formation of its kind in history. I believe that the agreement just signed will enable us to progress more effectively in such research and applied contexts,” said Professor Pini Gurfil, head of Technion’s Asher Institute for Space Research, and quoted in The Jerusalem Post.
The new MoU was signed in Dia by the head of the ISA, Avi Blassberger, and the vice-president of ISRO, I.O. Sharma, and the focal points of the cooperation will be between Technion’s Asher Institute and the Indian Institute of Space Science and Space Technology.
This agreement, and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to India, marks the latest in a number of agreements and visits between Israel and India and a further deepening of what is becoming a significant strategic partnership.