India’s critical water situation, with major pollution issues and a vast population, is well-known. The Indian water industry understands that Israeli water technology companies hold the key to addressing many of India’s water challenges. Indeed, a number of Israeli water companies are already active in India, and there have been a number of delegations and events, organized by Israel NewTech and the Israeli Economic Offices in India, to promote cooperation.
Today however, there is a strong sense that the cooperation is going to enter high gear. One of the reasons is the recent election of a new prime minister in India, and a new political party. We spoke with Noa Amsalem of the Israeli Economic Office in Delhi, which organized two recent events: a Seminar & B2B on Indo-Israel Cooperation in Water Security & Waste Water Management and an educational webinar:
“There is a strong sense that this is the right time for projects in the water arena to take off. Narendra Modi, the newly elected Prime Minister of India, from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is known for his effective economic leadership. He was Chief Minister of the Gujarat state, considered India’s most advanced area industrially and economically, from 2001 to 2014, and is credited with much of Gujarat’s economic success. Moreover Modi is known to hold very positive views on Israel and Israeli technology, and was involved in Indian-Israeli cooperation, including in the water arena.” Amsalem informs us that Modi has already appointed a Minister for Water Resources, Uma Bharti, showing that he plans to continue to focus on the water industry.
The recent events turned out to be well-timed to coincide with Prime Minister Modi’s announcement of a concrete plan for the much-needed cleaning of the Ganges River. Israel NewTech has led a number of delegations in the past to India, bringing water technology companies to meet with the Indian water authorities to explore solutions together. “We’ve worked hard over the past few years to bring Israeli water technologies to India,” says Adi Yefet, head of the water arena at Israel NewTech. “A lot of progress has been made, but recent developments indicate that many of the plans that have been discussed are now about to be executed, and it’s a very exciting time for India’s water industry.”
The Seminar & B2B on Indo-Israel Cooperation in Water Security & Waste Water Management, which took place September 9th in New Delhi, brought 15 Israeli water technology companies to meet with India’s largest EPC infrastructure companies, each of which sent a team especially to meet with the Israeli visitors. The event included presentations by the Israeli companies, and one-on-one meetings. The feedback on the event was excellent, and Noa Amsalem reports being kept very busy in these days after the event with follow-up requests and continued matchmaking between Israeli and Indian companies.
Marc Krieger, Director of Business Development – Asia-Pacific at Aqwise, an Israeli company which develops biological water and wastewater treatment solutions, had this to say about the event: “For Aqwise it was a wonderful opportunity to get ‘close’ exposure to key players in the water & wastewater treatment field in India. The majority of the companies and people we met were very suitable partners for Aqwise activity in India, and we are optimistic about the follow-up prospects from the meetings. I want to thank everyone involved on the Israel Trade side at the Embassy in Delhi for a very well-organized event.”
Another water industry event which took place recently was an educational webinar presented by Mr. H. Subramaniam, an experienced water engineer. Israeli water company representatives listened in and were able to learn practical insights on how to best navigate India’s water industry, as well as ask questions. The webinar took place September 4th and was titled “New Technologies needed for the Ganga Cleaning Projects and the Scope of Advanced Desalination Technologies in India.”
Noa Amsalem filled us in on the Economic Office’s plans for opening even more doors for Israeli water companies in India: “A major opportunity is now presenting itself for Israeli water technology companies, since the Indian government has passed a new law on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The Law makes it mandatory for companies with a certain level of revenue or more, to invest 2% of their profits back into efforts and programs to benefit the environment. We are actually seeing Indian companies scrambling to find relevant investments in this arena, and of course Israeli companies are perfectly placed to provide solutions.”
Yoni Ben Zaken, Commercial Attache at the Embassy of Israel added, “We’d like to see Israeli companies suggesting more small pilot-style projects to Indian companies. Inclusion in the CSR program is also an excellent way to raise funds, so it’s a significant opportunity for Israeli companies looking to enter or expand in the Indian water market.”
The Economic Office is planning to directly approach Indian companies which wastewater flows to the Ganges, and to match them with Israeli companies which could help them to provide solutions, under the umbrella of the new law. “We’ve always worked with the government and water authorities. Today we are approaching the industry from two angles, directly reaching out to industry as well,” concludes Amsalem.