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Chandigarh: Punjab and Israel have agreed to explore technology transfer in the critical areas of water conservation and security, besides agreeing to cooperate in the fields of agriculture and social development.

These, and some other vital issues of mutual interest, were discussed between Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and Israel’s ambassador to India Daniel Carmon over a breakfast meeting here on Friday. The Israeli ambassador was making a courtesy call on the Chief Minister ahead of his scheduled departure from India at the end of the month.

With the Government of India clearing his visit to Israel, the Chief Minister said he looked forward to visiting the West Asian country soon. However, he expected some important MoUs to be signed even before that, when the 5-member cabinet sub-committee on ground water conservation travels to Israel, Captain Amarinder Singh added. He told the envoy that the cabinet sub-committee had been formed to study Israeli methods on agricultural diversification to minimise water consumption and also on use of waste water.

Citing the precarious ground water situation in Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh suggested pilot projects through private Israeli companies, equipped with the latest technologies, under the umbrella of the Israeli government, to tackle the problem. The suggestion came in response to the ambassador’s statement that Israel has a government agency – Newtech – to coordinate projects with various Indian state governments and private companies in his country. He mentioned that three Israeli companies were working on drip irrigation projects in Gujarat and Maharashtra

The ambassador asked the Punjab government to identify the companies they were interested in working with. He promised to examine the proposal in detail to facilitate signing of the necessary agreements between the two governments.

Carmon told the Chief Minister that the Israeli Prime Minister, who had met his Indian counterpart twice in the past one year, had promised the latter to share technology for desalination and treatment of waste water. After horticulture and agriculture, water was the next area in which Israel was working with India in a big way, he added.

Israel had joined India in the latter’s drinking water conservation campaign, said Carmon, adding that experts would be coming soon to sign MoUs with the Uttar Pradesh government. There was no reason not to do the same with Punjab, he added.

The Chief Minister also mooted sharing of ideas between agriculture universities in Punjab and Israel.

The ambassador further proposed working together on social development, for which his country had already prepared a concept paper that could be shared with the Punjab government.

Prominent amongst others who were present in the meeting included Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, Additional Chief Secretary Development Viswajeet Khanna, DGP Suresh Arora, DGP Intelligence Dinkar Gupta, Secretary Water Supply and Sanitation Jaspreet Talwar, Additional Principal Secretary to CM Dr. Girish Dayalan. Other members of the visiting delegation included First Secretary Political Ms. Noa Hakim, and Lion Ben Ami.

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