President Rivlin on visit to India marks day of Israel-India cooperation, opens business cooperation seminar, oversees signing of more than 20 education collaboration agreements
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
During his State Visit to India, President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, today (Thursday) attended to key events highlighting the significant cooperation between Israel and India in a range of fields: notably in education and trade. The President was accompanied on his visit by a delegation made up economic and business leaders, as well as a delegation of university presidents and education heads from Israel.
The President began the day at the first India-Israel Education Conference, held with the participation of Indian Education Minister Prakash Keshav Javadekar together with leading figures and officials in education in India, and joined by Yaffa Zilbershats, head the Israeli Council for Higher Education’s budget committee, who was leading the Israeli education delegation which included; Hebrew University of Jerusalem President, Prof. Menachem Ben-Sasson; Tel Aviv University President, Prof. Joseph Klafter; Ben Gurion University President, Prof. Rivka Carmi, President; Haifa University Rector, Prof. Gustavo Mesch; Ariel University President, Prof. Yehuda Danon; Bar Ilan University Vice Rector, Professor Amnon Albeck; Technion’s International Director, Prof. Anat Rafaeli, IDC Herzliya President, Prof. Uriel Reichman; and from College of Law and Business, Prof. Moshe Cohen-Eliya.
President Rivlin said, “In the past years academic cooperation between Israel and India, has grown a lot,” and noted that “ten percent of all foreign students and scholars in Israel today are from India, 40 joint research projects were supported by both governments; most Israeli universities teach Indian studies and in Tel Aviv University you can learn to speak Marathi. I truly believe that the academic-cooperation between India and Israel, is a top priority for both nations, both people.”
He stressed, “The agreements signed today, mark a new step in the growing partnership between our two countries. They cover all fields of study; technology, agriculture, archaeology, biology, and many more. They include exchanges at all levels: from students to senior faculty members. They show that we all share a strong belief: that this relationship is for the good of both sides. That together, we are much stronger, wiser, better.”
The conference highlighted the significant growth in academic cooperation between Israel and India, a point which was also stressed and in important priority by Indian Prime Minister Modi in his meetings with President Rivlin earlier in the week. In particular Prime Minister Modi had raised the issues of increasing the number of Israeli lecturers for extended periods to India, and likewise, to increase the number of India students coming to learn in Israeli universities.
The Council for Higher Education in Israel had noted the high strategic importance of improving collaborations with India, and had begun increasing academic partnerships and research programs as early as 2013, and this was the focus of both the Israeli Science Foundation and the University Grants Commission of India. In this framework, more than 40 joint research programs had already been supported, and Israel was aiming to extend these projects further, and similarly to expand cooperation conferences. Another project was the provision of scholarships for Indian students seeking to complete post-doctorate degrees. So far, more than 400 scholarships had been awarded over three years. More than 20 agreements were signed at the conference today, between the heads of Israeli and Indian universities, aimed at increasing academic cooperation, student and faculty exchanges, and research partnerships.
Indian Education Minister Prakash Keshav Javadekar said, “This cooperation received a significant boost during President Mukrajee’s visit to Israel last year when 8 cooperation agreements were signed. I am very pleased to see President Rivlin accompanied by an unprecedented academic delegation, together with whom we have seen the signing of further agreements here today. I welcome and congratulate all the educational institution heads here today, the developing academic ties are the foundation stone of our bilateral relations.”
Later, President Rivlin addressed the opening of a business cooperation seminar entitled, “Israel India Innovation Partnership”, hosted by three chambers of commerce, FICCI, CII, and ASSOCHAM. Also addressing the conference was Shraga Brosh, President of Manufacturers Association of Israel, and Israel’s Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon.
The President began, "Over the past two years, the trade relations between Israel and India have boomed, thanks to India's current government. This growth is a source of much mutual pride. Our countries' trade is on a steady increase, with more than two billion dollars in trade every year. Our commercial partnerships include today a growing variety of goods and knowledge: from water treatment to telecom products; from optics to metal, from defense and aviation, to diamonds, textile, chemicals and medical equipment.”
The President stressed, “I come here today to say loud and clear - India is a top trade partner for Israel today. Together, we have built a powerful and strong market. And together, we must work to make this market even stronger. Even as we look with satisfaction at the rapidly growing trade relations between our countries, the potential for India-Israel trade can and should, grow even larger. We would like to see in the future, more, even more, mutual investment, and trade. Indeed, the possibilities before us are endless.
He noted, “Since September 2014, when Prime Minister Modi introduced his brave ‘Make in India’ initiative, your country has become the top global destination for direct foreign investment. We have come here today with a unique delegation of leaders from all fields of Israeli industry and business, to send out a strong message: we are here to make in India, to make with India. We are here to grow our economies together, in full partnership, for the benefit of us all. I express here today, an official Israeli hope that this visit to India will open the way to a full free trade agreement between our countries. And I am sure that free trade agreement, will boost our economies,”
Shraga Brosh, President of Manufacturers Association of Israel, said that, “I agreed with my Indian counterpart, president of the FCCI, to work to triple the trade and cooperation between our two countries in the coming years.”
Mr. Atul Punj, President of the FCCI said, “There are many fields in which Israel and India can cooperate, especially in light of the ‘Make in India’ initiative. We believe that there are many ways which can push us forward on the road of cooperation. If we adopt a targeted approach, and leverage our mutual strengths, together we can ensure the achievement of this common goal.”