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PM Modi urges innovators to make the most of Israeli technology

The Prime Minister visits his home state Gujarat with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2018 08:43 IST
Hiral Dave
Hiral Dave
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) tries his hand at the spinning wheel as PM Narendra Modi and Sara Netanyahu look on during a visit to the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad. The Israeli Prime Minister and his wife landed in Ahmedabad to a packed schedule, hosted by PM Modi himself. (AFP / PIB)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday pitched for greater cooperation with Israel to boost innovation in India. He said this while visiting the city with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, on a day-long visit.

Dedicating the iCreate Centre at Deo Dholera village in Ahmedabad to the country, Modi urged innovators to make the most of Israeli technology to emerge triumphant in the fields of water conservation, agriculture and cyber-security. “The entire world is influenced by the technology and creativity of Israel. Israel has proven to the world that it is the people’s resolve, not the size of a nation, that takes it forward,” he said.

iCreate (short for the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology) is an autonomous institution on the outskirts of Ahmedabad that aims to identify and nurture budding entrepreneurs, and provide them with all the assistance required in this regard.

The Prime Minister said he decided to link iCreate with Israel upon its launch a few years ago. “I wanted this institution and our youth to benefit from Israel’s experience as well as their start-up environment,” he added.

The BJP government at the Centre was working towards making the “entire system in our country” innovation-friendly, Modi said. “This will enable the formation of ideas from intent, innovations from ideas, and a new India from innovations.”

Stressing on the importance of innovations for the country’s development, Modi said a joint venture worth $40 million was set up during his visit to Israel last year. “The initiative will help talented people from both India and Israel do new things in the field of technological innovation. The relationship between the two countries will write a new chapter in human history,” he added.

Earlier, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Modi’s leadership was “changing India”. “He is revolutionising India. He is catapulting it into the future as one of the world’s great powers. He is doing it trough the power of innovation,” he said. “The world knows about iPads and iPods, but now it needs to know about iCreate.”

Netanyahu also touched upon past ties between Israel and Modi’s home state in his address. “This isn’t the first time Israel and Gujarat have come together. In 2001, following the terrible earthquake in Gujarat, Israel sent field hospitals to help. Our ties go back even further. Some of the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives to liberate the city of Haifi over 100 years ago were Gujaratis. Thank you, Gujarat!”

The Israeli premier concluded his speech by shouting: “Jai Hind! Jai Bharat! Jai Israel!”

iCreate, a public-private partnership (PPP) venture launched by the Gujarat government, is closely linked with the middle-eastern country. It is one of the organisations that facilitate the Centre’s India-Israel Innovation Bridge initiative by hosting start-ups from both the countries. Most of the projects undertaken pertain to water shortage, agricultural issues and medicine.

Modi and Netanyahu reviewed products of leading Gujarati start-ups showcased at the iCreate fair, besides taking note of winning entries from the India-Israel Global Innovation Challenge-2017.

The two leaders then went on to visit the Centre of Excellence for Protected Cultivation and Precision Farming on Vegetables at Vadrad village in Sabarkantha district. Here, they were treated to success stories in agriculture from local farmers.

Set up under the Indo-Israel Agriculture Work Plan for exchanging advanced farming technology, the institution provides training and guidance in controlled farming techniques through net houses and seedlings developed in plug nurseries.

Earlier in the day, Modi went with Netanyahu and his wife Sara to pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram after an eight-km-long cultural roadshow from Ahmedabad airport.

During the course of his visit, Netanyahu presented the Indian premier with a unique gift – the GAL Mobile the two leaders rode on during the latter’s visit to Israel’s Olga beach last year. The GAL Mobile, an independent vehicle with water purification capabilities, can be useful during military conflicts or natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes. It can purify up to 20,000 litres of sea water and 80,000 litres of brackish water per day.

First Published: Jan 17, 2018 19:47 IST