Israel is planning to open a consulate in Bangalore by the year-end. This will be the second consulate after Mumbai. These are in addition to its embassy in New Delhi. As of now Israel’s consulate in Mumbai manages its relationships with the south Indian states and has been building relationships with firms and educational institutions in the South.
Meanwhile, Israel is in the process of setting up three centres of excellence (CoE) in Karnataka relating to horticulture. Israel, though in an arid region, is on Tuesday an exporter of agricultural produce. It is seeking to transfer its technologies to countries needing them. They are part of the plan of Israel to set up 30 CoEs across India. The objective of the centres will be to ‘train the trainer’ and also transfer its technologies. “With Karnataka also being a centre of food processing, packaging and post-harvest industries are important to it,” Orna Sagiv, Consul General, Consulate of Israel in Mumbai, told Business Standard.
Israel has developed a close relationship with the horticulture department of Karnataka and is hoping to provide its expertise to the department and in turn to the horticulturists in the state, added Sagiv. Another important area where Israel is hoping to have tieups is in water management and water purification where it has built expertise as its in an arid region and has to ensure no water is wasted. As Israel recycles 85 per cent of its water, using them for irrigation, it is hoping to provide its expertise in water management. Israel is also hoping to share its expertise with the states that face a huge loss and wastage of water. The country’s expertise in water metering and water security is another area where Sagiv says it can provide its expertise.
Israel, which has been living under constant threat from many quarters, has a strong homeland security mechanism in place and hopes to share some of its expertise in this field too. “We have people on the ground who are looking for opportunities,” said Sagiv.
With these tieups, Israel, which on Tuesday has a bilateral trade of about $5 billion, exporting about $3 billion to India, hopes to see its bilateral trade rising to $12-15 billion in a few years time.
Israel is also building academic relationships with India through two programmes. One aims at encouraging post doctoral fellows to go to Israel for 2-three years and do joint research with Israeli universities. Another one relates to joint research and development (R&D) in products. For this, the two countries have agreed to provide funding of $5 million each every year to promote joint R&D for three years and this programme is set to start soon, said Sagiv.