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Narendra Modi visit: India, Israel agree to boost trade to $20 billion in next 5 years

LiveMint logoLiveMint 06-07-2017 Elizabeth Roche

New Delhi: India and Israel on Thursday agreed to boost trade from the current $5 billion a year to $20 billion annually in the next five years, an official said Thursday.

The target was set by the business delegations of the two countries that met for the first time under the aegis of the India-Israel CEOs forum on the sidelines of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ongoing visit to Israel.

The business delegations of the two countries also closed business deals worth $5 billion, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Gopal Baglay said in a Twitter post.

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Among the biggest of these deals was one between India’s Texmaco Rail & Engineering Ltd and Israel’s LeshmanLesico Group for cooperation in the field of execution of light rail projects including greenfield ones in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, industry lobby group Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said in a press statement. The value of the deal cited by FICCI was $2 billion.

The India-Israel CEO Forum also set up six committees covering start-ups, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, homeland security, agriculture, energy and water sectors.

Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the launch of the “India-Israel Start-Up Bridge” to encourage start-ups of the two countries to work together to come up with innovative solutions to tackle challenges in agriculture, water and healthcare, a person familiar with the developments said.

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Modi arrived in Israel on Tuesday in the first ever visit to the Jewish country by an Indian prime minister since India and Israel came into being. On Wednesday, the two countries elevated their ties to a strategic partnership—bringing out into the open ties that were seen as kept under the radar for fear of antagonising Israel’s Arab neighbours with whom India has close energy and strategic ties.

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