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OCT 11 2013

Security, energy and agriculture among focus areas

  • Economic Times, ET Bureau / Hyderabad
  • Created: Fri 11th OCT 2013

The governments of India and Israel have agreed on joint initiatives in investment, research and development (R&D), security and farming, among others.

The countries would jointly set up a research and development (R&D) fund and promote investments in security, cyber security, energy, water recycling and solid waste management, agriculture and post-harvest management. The size of the fund has not been decided.

Israel also proposes to increase the number of model farms from 20 to 100 across the country, helping farmers increase production. The countries also plan to increase investment flow in defence and homeland security, to tackle global terrorism.

These were disclosed by Israel's Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett during an interaction here on Thursday. Bennett said it was decided to float the R&D fund during his meeting with Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

During his Mumbai visit, Bennett met Reliance Industries Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani and Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry, requesting investments in Israel. "My advice to Israeli companies and investors is to become partners with Indian counterparts, keeping long-term investment plans in mind. Do not come to India if you have short-term objectives," he said. The time taken for investment decisions is a little long in India, the minister said, adding his country expects faster decision making.

India and Israel are working to finalise a free trade agreement and a free talent deal, he said. "Israeli students should take a plane and land in India to join the university of their choice. We want to promote free flow of talent in both countries."

The annual bilateral trade has increased to $6 billion from $180 million in 1992, Bennett said. "Our goal is to double it. The FTA is expected to expand the basket of goods that will be traded and create significant opportunities for traders and business persons of both countries."

The economy minister also met Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. "Israel will set up a model farm at Dapoli in the Konkan region to help increase mango output. A similar model farm will be established in Nagpur for citrus fruit."

Israel was also keen to share post-harvest management know-how, he added.


Maharashtra Finance P Chidambaram Tata Group Indus Mumbai India

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