In Gujarat, Narendra Modi vies to double farmer income by 2022; Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will help India achieve its vision

Prime Minister Narendra Modi toured his home state Gujarat with Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, as he sought to further develop India-Israel relations in fields of innovation and agriculture.

"Innovation has played a major role in bringing India and Israel closer, and sentiments of mutual development is crucial for a better future of both countries," Modi said at iCreate centre in Ahmedabad.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Narendra Modi. Image courtesy: Twitter/vijayrupanibjp

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Narendra Modi. Image courtesy: Twitter/vijayrupanibjp

Modi and Netanyahu dedicated to India the centre for entrepreneurship and technology in Deo Dholera village near Ahmedabad. Called the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology (iCreate), a public-private partnership (PPP) venture set up to nurture entrepreneurs by providing them funds, space, mentors and other facilities.

Modi hailed Israel's work in the field of technology. He said, "Israel's technology and creativity influence the entire world. Innovators in India can benefit from the areas related to the Indian needs."

He further added that water conservation, agriculture production, storage facilities, food processing, less-water farming in deserts and cyber security were among the issues where India could partner with Israel.

"Israel has proved that it is people's dedication and not the size of a country that takes it forward," Modi said.

Talking about cooperation in agriculture and exchange of genetic resources and information between these countries, Modi said, "This kind of cooperation and sentiments of mutual development are very important for a bright future of both countries."

The prime minister said there were enormous opportunities in "waste to wealth" area.

Modi talked about a $40 million fund which was created during his visit to Israel in 2017. He said:

"This will be a joint venture of India and Israel. This will help the talents of both countries to do something new in the direction of technological innovation. This joint venture will focus on food, water, disease relief and the area of energy."

"Also, there will be an exchange between start-ups in both countries," he said.

The prime minister stated that he wanted Israeli cooperation when iCreate was established "to get benefits of Israel's experience and provide a start-up environment to youth in the institution."

Modi said his government is making efforts to create systems that are innovation-friendly. "We are working towards making entire system in our country innovation-friendly, so that ideas are formed from intent, innovations are formed from ideas and new India is formed from innovations," the prime minister said.

Netanyahu, whose six-day visit to India began on Sunday, said he was delighted to be at the iCreate centre on Wednesday. "The world knows about iPads and iPods, there is one more I that the world needs to know about, that is iCreate," he said.

The Israeli prime minister said that both he and Modi were "very young and both very optimistic." "We are young in our thinking and optimism about the future. Jai Bharat! Jai Israel! Thank you all," he said, concluding his short speech.

Netanyahu gifts desalination jeep to Modi

During the event at iCreate centre, Netanyahu presented the GAL-Mobile water desalination and purification jeep to the people of Suigam village in Banaskantha.

"Last year, I was shown a motorable vehicle (during a visit to Israel), which can purify dirty water. I was driven by Netanyahu. He has brought this vehicle here as a gift," Modi said.

"This vehicle, the live demonstration of which you witnessed, is stationed at Suigam in the border region, from where it will be able to give pure water to BSF soldiers guarding our borders and people of the surrounding villages," Modi said.

Modi told Netanyahu people of India are thankful to him for the gift.

'India has a vision and a leader'

Before wrapping up their Gujarat visit, Modi and Netanyahu visited Centre of Excellence for Vegetables at Vadrad in Prantij taluka in Sabarkanta district.

Modi and Netanyahu visited the plug nursery and poly house and interacted with progressive farmers.

"We're here to make your lives better and I thank you for this warm friendship...We want to help India help itself because India has vision. It understands that knowledge is the future. This is the policy of Narendra Modi and this is my policy," Netanyahu said as he addressed the gathering.

The two prime ministers e-inaugurated the Centre for Excellence for Date Palm, under the India Israel Agriculture Plan. Modi then praised the "strides" made by Israel in the field of agriculture. "We are all aware of the strides Israel has made in agriculture, including when it comes to managing water resources and irrigation. Israel shows the way on how to transform a nation with the agriculture sector at the core," he said.

Modi said that the Centre was "working towards doubling farmer incomes by 2022."

"For this, optimum utilisation of land resources, ensuring minimum wastage and understanding the needs of the market assume importance," he said.

Roadshow to Sabarmati Ashram

After arriving in Modi's home state early on Wednesday, the two leaders, along with the Israeli prime minister's wife Sara Netanyahu, held a roadshow in Ahmedabad from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Airport under a heavy security blanket as thousands of people lined up along the route to greet them.

Around 50 stages were erected on the roadside along the stretch to showcase performances by troupes of different states to welcome the guests.

People carrying Indian and Israeli flags stood in large numbers on both sides of the tastefully decorated road.

Modi and Netanyahu waved at the people, who greeted them with loud cheers.

The roadshow concluded at Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram, after traversing 8 km.

At 'Hriday Kunj', Gandhi's home in the ashram, Modi showed the visiting prime minister and his wife Gandhi's room and the articles he used.

Netanyahu and his wife tried their hands at Gandhi's cherished spinning wheel.

Modi also showed kites to the Israeli prime minister, whose visit comes just a few days after 'Uttarayana', the popular festival of kites in Gujarat. Netanyahu and his wife then took a try at flying kites in the ashram.

Netanyahu describes Gandhi as 'humanity's great prophet'

Netanyahu described Mahatma Gandhi as one of the great prophets of humanity.

In a four-line message jointly signed by Netanyahu and his wife Sara in the visitor's log book at the ashram, the Israeli dignitaries said their "visit was inspiring".

"An inspiring visit to the hearth of one of humanity's great prophets of inspiration- Mahatma Gandhi," Netanyahu wrote in the book.

Later, Netanyahu thanked Modi for a "special and a moving day."

With inputs from agencies


Updated Date: Jan 17, 2018 22:04 PM

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