Young Israeli tourists are so common in India that in certain regions, restaurants hang signs and write menus in Hebrew. But Israel is now in the process of sending more than just tourists to the region. At the end of April, Israeli news site Ynet reported that Israel would be sending engineers, researchers and representatives from water technologies companies to help India clean up the notoriously-polluted Ganges River.
The river has become an increasingly problematic site for India as it has caused the spread of infections and diseases. Since February, the Indian government has been gearing up a campaign to clean up the river, promoting its importance as a religious site and also as a freshwater resource.
As Israeli experts fly overseas, Indian researchers and water tech company representatives, including members of the government-formed India Institute of Technology (IIT), will fly to Israel to learn about sewage treatment, water purification, desalination and water resource management from Israeli companies that work in the field and the Israel Water Authority.
The goal is that the Indian experts will be able to return home and incorporate some of what they learn into the Ganges River project.
Israel has been building business partnerships with India and China over the last few years and this January, Prime Minister Benajmin Netanyahu announced a plan to build two new railways linking the country’s two seas, the Mediterranean and the Red Sea in the south. The 220 mile passenger train between Tel Aviv and Eilat would also ease China’s and India’s ability to trade across the Middle East and to Europe.
Cooperation between Israel and India has also had more colorful iterations. Over a year ago, Israeli industrial engineer Noa Lerner was struck by the problem of untreated sewage in slums and designed a mobile public toilet to ease the problem.
But with water being a central environmental challenge facing Israel, as well as many other Middle Eastern countries, the small desert country was a perfect destination for India to seek help. In fact, for Israel’s official 64th Independence Day celebration on April 26, the government-designed ceremony was themed around water, honoring twelve leading experts from various water-related fields in Israel.
“Israel is considered a world leader in water technologies, and is well prepared to offer various solutions to the Indian government in this matter,” Oded Distal, Manager of the unit to promote investments in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor told Ynet.
Image from Flickr via amanderson