By Sujit Chakraborty
Agartala, Nov 5 (IANS): Israel would collaborate and work together in the agricultural sector in a bigger way with the northeastern states, Israeli Ambassador to India, Ron Malka, said here on Thursday.
Malka said that for the first time the Israeli counsellor was recently nominated in Guwahati to facilitate adapting Israeli technology and collaboration in the northeastern states as the country is doing this in the other parts of India and across the world.
"People of the region want collaboration and we are also keen to collaborate and share our technology, expertise and achievements with the northeastern states," the visiting envoy told a local online channel before leaving for Delhi on Thursday.
"Israel has been extending its agricultural technology across the world, but the best successful projects are in India. We are implementing and running 29 centres of excellence in India. We have trained 1.47 lakh famers in one year about the latest agricultural technologies of Israel. India is a strategic partner and a close friend of Israel," Malka said.
The Israeli Ambassador to India said that these collaborative efforts would help the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to double the farmers' income.
He said: "Since early this week, I have visited three northeastern states – Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura. The best practices of Israel in the agriculture and farming sector can be shared with the northeastern region as agriculture is the backbone of the economy of the region, and Israel is a world leader in agri technology."
Accompanied by his wife Lea Malka and a high level delegation, Malka during his two day visit to Tripura held separate meetings with Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and senior officials led by Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar and visited an agricultural farm, some tourism places and a museum.
The Israeli Ambassador during his meeting with the Tripura Chief Minister and other officials talked about the challenges of the region and how to increase the economic prosperity of the region.
"We have discussed the management of water resources and healthcare and other aspects. Tripura Chief Ministers and his Assam and Meghalaya counterparts are keen to collaborate in a bigger way with Israel's latest technology in agriculture and farming sectors," he added.
In a Facebook post, Deb said: "We held extensive discussions regarding the possible avenues of partnership with Israel in areas such as horticulture, water management, agriculture, and disaster management.
"Specific deliberations were held with Malka regarding setting up a 'Centre of Excellence' (CoE) in Tripura. World-class expertise of Israel shall greatly benefit our efforts to attain PM Narendra Modi's goal of doubling the farmers' income."
In Meghalaya, in collaboration with Israel, the state government has proposed to set up two centres of excellence, as part of a project between India and Israel to boost the farmers' income utilising the latest technology.
Accompanied by the Israeli Ambassador, Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma told the media in Shillong on Tuesday evening that the Meghalaya government has sought the support of the Central government and Israel for setting up the two centres of excellence in two districts -- East Khasi Hills and East Garo Hills -- at a cost of Rs 10 crore each.
Before coming to Tripura, Malka visited an 100-acre Tech City, which is under development, near the Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati on Wednesday.
During the visit, Malka requested Assam's Information Technology and Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta to plan a visit shortly to Israel for exploring the emerging technologies available there.