8. Israel's PM Naftali Bennett to headline Asia's biggest tech summit in India.
Apple, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs and the tech elite among the Indian diaspora will be there, too.
Benjamin Netanyahu may no longer be Israel’s prime minister, but the Israel-India show goes on.
Two weeks ago, India’s PM Narendra Modi and new Israeli PM Naftali Bennett met on the sidelines of COP 26 in Glasgow. It was their first formal meeting.
Naturally, they hugged each other. Squeezed each other’s hands. And showered praise on one another.
“You are the most popular person in Israel,” Bennett told Modi. “Come join my party,” he added, as both out in laughter.
Meanwhile, the events, interactions and meetings between the two countries have continue unabated. Last month, during his visit to meet the new PM Bennett, India’s external minister S Jaishankar described Israel as India’s “most trusted and innovative partnership.”
This week, Bennett, a one time Israeli forces special commander, former defence minister and a tech start-up millionaire, will be taking part in the opening session of the Bengaluru Tech Summit (17-19 Nov) underlining the centrality of tech (including arms), entrepreneurship and collaboration in the burgeoning of ties between the two countries.
The summit in Bengaluru will also feature “Cybersecurity pioneer” Gil Shwed, who created the cyber security company Checkpoint, which works in partnership with some of Israel’s biggest arms companies, including drone manufacturer Israel Aerospace Industries(IAI).
Shwed, himself, was part of the Israeli army’s elite Unit 8200 prior to launching his company in 1993.
Touted as the Asia's Largest Technology Event, the summit will also feature: Prof. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman, World Economic Forum; Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India; Priya Balasubramaniam, Vice President of Product Operations, Apple; Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, Associate Professor of Medicine, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, among others.
This is no Mickey Mouse event. According to organizers: 300 speakers, 5000 start-up attendees, over 300 exhibitors and more than 20,000 business attendees. It’s a tech carnival. Oh, and the UAE will be participating for the first, too.
Check out all the speakers here
Along with a special sessions on India-Australia and India-Israel, there will also be a special India-US Conclave “aimed at deepening & expanding the collaboration between India & US Tech Companies and Innovation Clusters.”
Read more about the tech summit: here.
In other news:
Over the weekend, India’s Chief of Staff Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane traveled to Israel to “enhance defense ties between the two countries.” He is scheduled to meet with Israeli army Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi as well as visit the Israeli army’s Ground Forces Headquarters.
This visit comes two weeks after Ajay Kumar, India’s director-general of the Indian ministry of defense, traveled to Israel. During those meetings, India and Israel agreed to formulating a 10-year plan to identify new areas in defense cooperation. India is already the biggest purchases of Israeli weapons, but over the past year or so, it has started co-producing Israeli arms in a bid to bulk up its own manufacturing capacity. ie. India wants to export arms. A lot of arms.
Parallel to these developments has been the emergence of a new so-called “quad”, comprising the UAE, Israel, India and the US. The group first met over Zoom in October, but according to newspaper reports, a second meeting is on the cards, in the weeks to come.
Without clear directives, not much is known about the intentions of the grouping. So far, most of the analyses had been based on anonymous remarks from diplomats and much of it has inevitably focused on “containing China”. But given the events in Afghanistan and the Abrahamic Accords, this new “quad” is likely to perform multiple roles; “containing China” will only be one of them.
More about this new grouping:
The NSO spy debacle continues:
More than 150 organisations and individuals from across the world have launched a campaign calling for an end to the “spyware trade”, following the Pegasus debacle. The campaign, originating in India, noted that spyware has been used to target protesters and activists in several countries, including but not limited to, Hong kong, Egypt, Myanmar, Nigeria Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Ethiopia Libya, Turkey, Hungary, as well as the US. Last week, it was reported, and unsurprisingly so, that Pegasus was used against Palestinians, too.
A little byte of history:
People often want to know what Mahatma Gandhi thought about Israel and the Palestinian cause. And a cursory glance suggests that he was unequivocally supportive of the Palestinians, mostly because of this quote from 1938:
“Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs... Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home”.
He did say that. However, his perspective (on a variety of issues!) was a lot more complicated than is often portrayed.
For instance, in 1946, he told an American journalist: “The Jews have a good cause. I told [British Zionist MP] Sidney Silverman that the Jews have a good case in Palestine. If the Arabs have a claim to Palestine, the Jews have a prior claim.”
According to international relations scholar PR Kumaraswamy, Gandhi’s “sympathetic views towards Jewish claims to Palestine, especially after 1938, simply went unnoticed and unrecognized”.
Until next time,
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