India and Israel have lined up several business initiatives including setting up a joint research and development fund. Companies from both countries will be able to tap into the R&D fund that would be set up within a year. The two sides are also progressing on free trade agreements, which will see further bilateral deliberations in the coming months. Israel’s economy minister Naftali Bennett, who is on a visit to India, said, “The only thing that we have is innovation.
We have agreed on moving forward on a joint R&D fund, wherein Israeli companies will partner with India and get 50% of the innovation requirements from the fund. This fund will be ready in a year.”Bennet, however, did not disclose the size of the fund but said that it will provide a huge opportunity to the small-scale Israeli companies to partner with big Indian companies. “For the Indian companies, it is an opportunity to own as well as use the technologies,” he said. The fund will not be focused on any particular sector. “Our approach is not to decide a particular vertical.
The fund will be open to innovation across sectors be it information and technology, food, water and farming,” he said. Both the countries are also taking forward on FTA. “We are taking forward the FTA extensively. Indian commerce minister Anand Sharma and I will have a meeting on the FTA in Jerusalam in a month and again at Bali in December. The FTA will be very comprehensive and way beyond merchandise. It is rather focused on talent and services exchange. We want to see free flow of goods services and knowledge. We anticipate some progress in the next few months,” said Bennett.The two countries have a $5 billion bilateral trade, excluding military transactions, which alone is about $9 billion.