Israel today evinced interest in strengthening cooperation with Punjab in various sectors, including agriculture, dairy farming as well as promotion of private investment in the state. At a meeting between Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and Israel’s ambassador to India, Daniel Carmon in New Delhi, the two sides decided to explore the possibility of setting up Punjab-Israel working groups for continuous dialogue on issues of mutual interest. The chief minister promised to take up the matter with the External Affairs Ministry, after the Israeli envoy suggested the formation of such groups for long-term cooperation, according to Raveen Thukral, Media Advisor to the chief minister. The ambassador told the chief minister that Israel is interested in expanding ties with Punjab beyond government- to-government relations by extending business opportunities for the Israeli private sector, Thukral said.
The Israeli envoy also showed interest in technological cooperation, with a possibility of setting up an IT and communications hub in Punjab, to which Singh said it could be an important area of mutual growth. The chief minister was keen to involve private sector, like in his previous tenure as the CM, in innovating new ways to boost irrigation and improve the yields of farmers with small holdings by encouraging them to shift to horticulture, Thukral said. The ambassador pointed out that several Israeli companies were engaged in augmenting crop yield through innovative measures aimed at ensuring ‘more crop per drop’, he added.
The chief minister also suggested Israel to set up an agricultural implements manufacturing facility in Punjab, besides helping the state in providing effective cold storage solutions for agricultural produce, Thukral said. Pointing out that the dairy yield of Israeli cows was among the top three in the world, Carmon offered to provide Punjab with embryo transfer and artificial insemination technologies to scale up the dairy farming business in the state, the media advisor added. The two sides also discussed cooperation in police/ security training, to which the Israeli ambassador said it could be arranged either in his country or in Punjab.
Captain Amarinder and Carmon agreed to explore the possibility for setting up a Punjab Special Operation Group for training. Israel already has an agreement with the Ministry of Home Affairs on homeland security and anti-terror activities. Israeli envoy and the chief minister agreed to exchange of agricultural and other experts as an ongoing measure to boost cooperation between the two sides, according to the media advisor.