Israel wants India to further ease the process of doing business and offer a more investor- friendly environment to its companies, an issue that may come up for discussion during PM Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to the country. Israeli sources said the Jewish country is optimistic on further progress on a Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) with India. The two countries have had eight rounds of discussions on FTA till now. An FTA will help Israeli companies in their business activities in India, the source said. From USD 200 million in 1992 (comprising primarily trade in diamonds), the bilateral merchandise between the two countries reached USD 5.19 billion in 2011.
However, it stagnated around USD 4-4.5 billion with bilateral trade (excluding defence) for 2015 being USD 4.14 billion, according to the External Affairs Ministry website. Welcoming recent reforms announced by the Indian government, the source pointed out that Israel wants New Delhi to open up further to the world economy. Modi is scheduled to visit Israel in July, a first by an Indian Prime Minister to the Jewish State.
Besides discussions on the defence and the agriculture sectors, the two sides are also expected to hold talks on a range of issues, including on economic cooperation. The talks will also include inviting Israeli companies to invest and manufacture in India. The source said Israel has been “very flexible” on the issue of ‘Make in India’, a flagship programme of the Modi government.