Representatives of the government of Gujarat and business leaders from the Indian state are holding meetings in Israel to strengthen economic and social ties between the two countries and lure Israeli companies and officials to take part in an economic summit that will be held in Gujarat in January 2017.
The people of Gujarat and Israelis “have a similar entrepreneurship spirit, with the ability to innovate and take risks,” delegation leader Mamta Verma, Industries Commissioner, Government of Gujarat, said in an interview in the business lounge of the hotel overlooking the Tel Aviv beachfront. “We are doing a lot of work in Gujarat to promote our startup ecosystem and we want to learn from Israel, find out what are the success stories that can be replicated.”
The 13-person delegation, all of whom are visiting Israel for the first time, will meet representatives of Israeli companies, heads of industry associations and government officials to make the case for cooperation and business between Israel and Gujarat. Gujarat was ranked number one in “Ease of Doing Business” in 2015 among all the states of India in a joint study by the Indian government and the World Bank.
Gujarat can play an important part in Israel’s relationship with India, Verma said. “With some mega projects planned in the state of Gujarat, Israel’s expertise in areas like defense, aerospace, startups, technology and textiles, to name a few, can play a significant role.”
Trade relations between Israel and India have surged from $200 million in 1992, when the two nations established diplomatic relations, to over $4.5 billion in 2015, Verma said. India is likely to be the only economy in the world to grow over 7 percent this year, edging China off the top spot, economists surveyed by Bloomberg said. China’s economy is forecast to grow around 6.5 percent, the Bloomberg survey said.
There are over 300 Israeli investments in India, mainly in high-tech and agriculture, data provided by the Indian delegation shows. The majority of them are in diamonds, agriculture, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, water technologies, homeland security and real estate.
Both Gujarat and India have set up startup schemes, with the Gujarat government allotting funds for the development of incubators in electronics and IT as well as development programs to foster R&D institutions and laboratories. The state also provides financial support and incentives for agro-industrial projects and is looking to promote innovative industries for the automotive sector.
The Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, the eighth held, will take place January 10-13, 2017, and will bring together heads of states, ministers, business leaders and policy makers from around the world to further development and promote cooperation. The Gujarat delegation will be in Israel till August 3.