Israel to collaborate with India in IT

Israeli companies want to collaborate with Indian companies on research and development (R&D) to create IT products and services for the global market, according to Ehud Olmert, Israel’s deputy prime minister and minister for industry, trade, labor and communications.

“There is no competition between India and Israel in IT,” Olmert told IDG News Service during his visit Tuesday to the Bangalore, India, facilities of Ness Technologies Inc, a Tel-Aviv, Israel, based IT services provider.

“India is so much bigger and has so many talented engineers who are much less expensive than our engineers in Israel,” Olmert added. “We have to use our relative advantages, and do R&D for the world market.” Companies from both countries will meet to discuss ways to collaborate, Olmert added.

“We don’t have a shortage of engineers in Israel relative to our size,” said Olmert. “Their quality is very high, but the only problem is that their cost is also high. We need to find a balance between using the innovation of Israeli engineers and the proven skills in software development and implementation of Indian engineers.” Olmert is leading an Israeli business delegation that is meeting Indian federal and state government officials and private sector executives. During his time in Bangalore, Olmert also visited key Indian software and outsourcing companies such as Infosys Technologies Ltd. and Wipro Ltd., both of which are Bangalore-based.

Several U.S. and European companies operate software development and services subsidiaries in India, or outsource to Indian software and services companies. Israel’s interest in India’s software and services capabilities goes beyond outsourcing and includes collaborating on R&D and product development, Olmert said.

Although a number of Israeli technology companies run marketing operations in India, only Ness has tapped India for its low-cost engineering manpower. Ness’ Bangalore operation offers product development, maintenance, testing and release-automation services to medium-size software companies in the U.S. and Europe.

The Israeli delegation’s visit to India follows a visit last week by Russian president Vladimir Putin. Russia’s minister of communications and IT, Leonid Reiman, and a delegation of Russian IT companies accompanied Putin. Besides inviting Indian software and services companies to set up operations in Russia, the Russians also met with executives of Indian outsourcing companies to explore opportunities for collaboration between Indian and Russian IT companies.

Israel also plans to collaborate with India in other areas such as bio-technology and electronics, Olmert said.