India, Israel inching closer to signing FTA: Israeli envoy

Kolkata, June 13 (IANS) Hoping that an India-Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would be signed "in the coming months", the Israeli ambassador Thursday said the agreement would be a "strategic game changer" in trade relations between the two countries.

"I truly believe that the FTA will be a strategic game changer...my sincere hope is that in the coming months the FTA would be concluded," Israeli Ambassador Alon Ushpiz said here.

The two countries were "inching closer" to signing an FTA, he said.

Two-way trade between India and Israel stood at $5 billion during 2011 but the volume dwindled a little bit last year.

Ushpiz said an FTA could bring about a "strategic shift" in trade relation between the two countries.

"I am confident the bilateral trade volume will jump from the current $5 billion to $10-15 billion in a few years' time. In fact, FTA will change the composition of trade. The minute we have the FTA in place, the intensity of interactions will be on a much higher level," he said during an interactive session, organised by industry lobby CII here.

The Israeli diplomat said water management and dairy could be the "thrust areas" in technological collaboration between the two countries in the coming days.

He hoped that a dairy centre of excellence would come up in one of India's states soon.

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