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  • Indian President Pranab Mukherjee meets with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin during his first official visit to Israel, October 14, 2015.MEA/PressRelease
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Israel President Reuven Rivlin at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Nov. 15, 2016.IANS

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday pitched for a free-trade agreement (FTA) between India and his country to give a fillip to the $5 billion bilateral trade between the two countries. Rivlin, who was on his maiden visit to the South Asian country, also announced his country's plans to partner with India's National Mission for Clean Ganga and solar power. 

"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 two countries. I am sure that the free-trade agreement will boost our economies," Rivlin was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

Rivlin was addressing the India-Israel Economic Forum: Innovative Partnerships, organised jointly by the Federation of Indian Chambers and Commerce Industry (Ficci), the Confederation of India Industry (CII) and the Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (Assocham).

He also said that India was one of the top trade partners for Israel and urged business leaders of both the countries to work closely for creating mutually-beneficial business opportunities, the Hindu reported. Rivlin further highlighted there was a huge scope for bilateral cooperation in water treatment project, optics, metals, aviation, diamonds and textiles.

Harshavardhan Neotia, President, FICCI & Chairman, Ambuja Neotia Group, said the two have immense potential to harness, especially in national security.

 "We in FICCI are firmly of the view that current global geopolitical trends make it ideal for India and Israel to strategize on a Defence and Homeland Security collaboration with a larger role for Indian private sector in co-production and co-development," he said.

"Together we can build a global campaign to combat droughts which will also generate opportunities to work on global challenges like food security and water management," Neotia added. 

Assocham also expressed confidence of syngergies between the two countries to create a world-class combination in the entrepreneurial space. ""When two entrepreneur partners come together, their combined strength can produce world beaters," Sunil Kanoria, President, Assocham and cice chairman, SREI Infrastructure Finance, said.