17 April, 2021

Reconnected Wires

There's more to Israeli investment than the aborted telecom deal

Reconnected Wires

BEFORE 1992, when India and Israel established full diplomatic relations, Israeli investment in India was virtually non-existent. Even in 1992, it grossed a minuscule $0.36 million. Three years later came the surge. In 1995, Israel committed over $1 billion, making it the second-largest investor in India that year, second only to the US. Most of that hard cash was to flow into telecommunications—Israeli telecom giant Bezeq teamed up with India's Himachal Futuristic Telecommunications Ltd (HFCL) and secured licences to operate basic telecom services in three states.

A year later, the telecom controversy in India cast a shadow over this prosperity. HFCL is now trying to have the partnership legally annulled and investment in 1996 is down to $10 million. Trade, though, is growing in diamonds and chemicals. Sources in Bezeq are reluctant to put a figure to their proposed investment, but say it is 'considerable'. It is against this backdrop that Israeli President Ezer Weizman's first-ever visit to India, from December 29 to January 5, is...

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