Israel plans to boost trade ties with India

New Delhi, September 12:

A trade centre in Mumbai, an economic cooperation pact and a joint satellite launch project are among the action plans Israel has drawn up to push economic ties with India, Israeli ambassador David Danieli has said. Israel has also identified information technology, life sciences, biotechnology, nanotechnology and pharmaceuticals as fields where India and Israel will stand to mutually gain in some of the cutting-edge areas in this millennium, the envoy to India said.

“We have not lost sight of the fact that India is one of the fastest growing economies. In forging closer ties, we are aiming at benefits accruing to both India and Israel,” Danieli said, “the trade centre to be set up soon in India’s financial capital to facilitate investment ties between Indian and Israeli companies will be Israel’s third after similar offices in Moscow and Amsterdam.”

“We reopened our consulate in Mumbai this year, keeping in mind the importance the city enjoys as India’s commercial hub. And we are now in advanced stages of setting up a trade centre there keeping this in mind,” he said. Danieli said India and Israel have also signed a pact to establish an industrial research and development fund with $1 million that will extend loans to private sector research initiatives to the extent of 50 per cent of the project cost. “We see it as a badge of honour to our capabilities and the prospects of India-Israel industrial and technological cooperation,” he said, adding work was on to set up systems like selection committees.

“The idea is to recover loans by way of royalties a project will generate over, say, 25 years after an innovation is commercialised. I am happy your science and technology minister wants to make it a $25 million fund.” On the proposed comprehensive economic cooperation agreement, the ambassador explained that the two sides had set up a joint study group, which has met twice in recent months — once in New Delhi and once in Tel Aviv. It is planning a pact that will not only cover areas like free trade and investment protection but also look at customs cooperation, trade facilitation, services and common certification.