In a bid to strengthen economic and scientific cooperation with Israel, India emphasised on the need to create markets and jobs in both the countries. Addressing the Israel Knesset on October 14, India’s President Pranab Mukherjee, spoke about the need to integrate Israeli innovation and Indian engineering and scale. President Mukherjee is on a visit to Israel as a part of his three-nation tour to West Asia.
India and Israel have been strengthening their relations over the years especially in the areas of defence and security. While this has led to eyebrows being raised by different sections in India, the growth in relations has been steady. Speaking about Israel as an inspiring nation, Mr Mukherjee said, “India always appreciated Israeli innovations in the field of agriculture, the kibbutz system and the remarkable achievements of your scientists and engineers.” He said drip irrigation is widely used, and the country is looking to develop efficient technologies for water management and cleaning rivers. “Whenever the Nobel Prizes have been announced, we have often seen the names of awardees who have studied in Israeli universities. As friends of Israel, we rejoice in the success of your scientists,” added Mr Mukherjee.
Tourism has been a major attraction for young Israelis to come to India. “India is delighted that Israeli citizens, particularly the younger generation, enjoy traveling to India. They rightly see India as a safe and welcoming destination where they always feel at home. I am told that Hebrew has been learned in some villages, and they even serve hummus,” emphasised Mr Mukherjee.
India and Israel’s economic relations have grown rapidly in the last two decades with the bilateral trade standing at USD 4.52 billion in 2014-15. Touching upon the various economic reforms that have taken place in India, Mr Mukherjee spoke about the government’s flagship programmes like Make in India, which is expected to boost the manufacturing sector and stimulate India’s economy. He stressed on Israeli innovation and technology combining with Indian engineering and scale to manufacture in India. Mr Mukherjee emphasised on bolstering defence partnership and added that it will create new markets and generate more jobs in both the countries.
“In both our countries, the service sector is growing fast. This is another area where we have complementary strengths. India is one of the largest exporters of software in the world. Every year more than 400,000 English-speaking engineers graduate from Indian universities. The number of start-ups in India is expected to cross 10,000 in the next two years. I am happy that the Israeli Government has opened a Consulate in Bangalore, India’s Silicon Plateau,” said Mr Mukherjee.
Praising the role of the Jewish community in India, Mr Mukherjee said, “the Jewish community of Mumbai has contributed to its architecture, banking, literature and Bollywood.”
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