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India committed to strengthening ties with Israel: Parliament told
Wednesday May 4, 2016 3:35 PM, Agencies

New Delhi: Stating that Israel is a functional democracy, modern in orientation and gelled well with India’s own flagship programmes, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in the Parliament on Wednesday that the country is committed to strengthening ties with the Jewish state.

"Israel is a functional democracy and its economy was forward-looking, modern in orientation and gelled well with India’s own flagship programmes, including that of Make in India, Digital India, Start-up India, Clean Ganga, and Smart City as well as the most recently launched National Agriculture Market initiative", Sushma Swaraj said in a written reply during question hour in the Lok Sabha.

“The Gulf and West Asia and North Africa (WANA) region forms part of India’s extended neighbourhood and is important for security and strategic reasons,” she added.

“The government of India is committed to strengthen relations with all the countries of this region including Israel,” she said.

“There are considerable synergies between the two countries to realise existing potential,” Sushma Swaraj said.

“The Israeli leadership have expressed their willingness to partner in our flagship initiatives and many Israeli companies have come forward to explore prospects of collaboration with their Indian counterparts.”

According to the minister, the presence of 80,000 people of Indian origin (PIOs) and diaspora is a significant aspect in India’s bilateral engagement with Israel.

She also pointed out that Israel has many contemporary and internationally recognised universities and many Indian institutions and universities have entered into cooperation arrangements with them.

“There is a robust students exchange between the two countries,” she said.

“Next year we mark the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel. As is customary, these events are to be celebrated by reaffirming desire to broaden relations with Israel including exchange of high-level visits,” Sushma Swaraj added.

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