Despite the ongoing geopolitical tensions surrounding it, Israel is confident of more than tripling its trade with India in the next two years.
India’s bilateral trade with Israel — that stands at over $5 billion presently — will more than triple with the two nations expected to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by end of next year (2013-14), Eli Belotsercovsky, director in the ministry of foreign affairs said.
“The negotiations between India and Israel have progressed well and while we wanted to sign the FTA in this year itself, the chances are that this will now happen by next year only,” Belotsercovsky said. He said that once the FTA is in place, “the trade between the two nations would skyrocket, the growth opportunities being in pharmaceutical, agriculture, energy, water management besides existing sectors including defence, textiles and so on.”
While Belotsercovsky did not elaborate on the reasons, officials said this could be due to the forthcoming elections in Israel in early 2013.
The two countries were targeting to complete the agreement by 2012-13 as the year marks the 20th year of diplomatic relations between India and Israel.
The Indo-Israeli Action Plan on Agriculture Cooperation, a three-year project for farm development in India through Israeli technology transfer, covered many states including Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Bihar, Punjab, Haryana and Maharashtra.
The project envisages joint development of agriculture on the farm, technology and academic fronts. It is proposed to develop some 30 centres of excellence across these States by 2015, out of which two have been set up at Karnal and Sirsa in Haryana in addition to Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
These programmes are helping farmers in these states to increase yields per hectare 8 to 10-fold from 15 to 20 tonnes to 100 tonnes.
Major exports from India to Israel are diamonds, other precious stones and metals, chemical products, textile and textile articles, plants and vegetable products, mineral products, rubber and plastic products, base metals and machinery.
Major exports from Israel to India are transport equipments, machinery, stones and metals, chemical and mineral products and base metals.
(The writer’s travel and stay were sponsored by the government of Israel)