Israel an `important partner` for India: Sarna

Terming Israel as an "important partner", India`s top diplomat in Jerusalem hoped a boost in cooperation between the two countries.

Jerusalem: Terming Israel as an "important
partner", India`s top diplomat in Jerusalem counts counter-terrorism,
multi-billion dollar defence arena, agriculture, water and
energy as sectors that will see growing cooperation between
the two countries in the coming years.

"There are several sectors in which India and Israel will
be working together, are working together and which are
critical for both the economies," Indian Ambassador to Israel
Navtej Sarna told PTI here as the two countries celebrate 20
years of diplomatic relations this year.

Though, diplomatic relations between Tel Aviv and New
Delhi was set up only in 1992, the ties between the two have
grown on a very fast pace.

From a mere USD 200 million bilateral trade in 1992, it
has grown to about USD 5 billion last year. Not only that, the
bilateral defence trade stands at approximately about USD 9
billion and is growing at a very fast pace.

Tel Aviv has emerged as the second biggest defence
supplier to New Delhi after Russia. From a buyer-seller
relationship, both India and Israel are now trying to branch
out to joint research and development initiatives.

Both the countries are in discussion on a Free Trade
Agreement and official believe that once it is signed, trade
figures will see an exponential jump.

"We are in the business of making partnership with large
number of countries which help us to actualize potential of
our people and enable us to grow at the rate we are growing or
even faster," Sarna said.

"In that sense Israel is an important partner, is a
source of excellent technology for us," he said.