India, Israel to set up joint R&D fund

By agencies   |   Monday, 23 May 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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JERUSALEM: India and Israel will set up a joint R&D fund to encourage new investors and joint industrial ventures, officials said.

The joint fund that will provide risk free grants to entrepreneurs from both sides, will be established this week during the visit of Minister of Science and Technology Kapil Sibal, officials said.

"Each side will contribute $1 million to start with and the fund will act as a catalyst to encourage new investors and joint industrial ventures", Amiram Halevy, Director of Asia and Pacific Division at the Trade and Industry ministry said.

The fund is patterned on the BIRD (Bilateral Industrial Research and Development) foundation between Israel and U.S. India is the fifth country with which Israel will be setting up such a fund.

Extending cooperation in various fields, the leading institute last week signed a cooperation agreement with IIT Kharagpur on exchange and collaboration of research, faculty and students.

"There is an immense potential for cooperation between the two institutions. We had outlined certain promising areas during the visit of an IIT representative in July last year with Prof Ramamurthy, Secretary, Science and Technology Ministry", Naphthali Moser, project coordinator at the Technion said.

India has emerged as Israel's second largest trading partner in Asia with bilateral trade registering an impressive ten fold growth since 1992 reaching the $2.4 billion mark last year.

Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Kamal Nath, is also likely to visit Israel in the near future when he and his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Olmert, will be presented with the findings of the Joint Study Group (JSG), officials said.

The JSG was set up in December during Olmert's visit to India to locate areas for further enhancing bilateral trade.

Nath had set up a target of $5 billion bilateral trade between the two countries in the next three years during the visit.

A team led by Boaz Hirsh, Head of the bilateral agreement division at the trade and industry visited India earlier this month to hold the second meeting of the JSG and formulated a work program for improving bilateral trade, and increasing cooperation and coordination in standards, investment, services, quotas, and R&D.

The first meeting of the JSG was held in Israel in February when a team led by SN Menon, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India visited Israel.

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