(Eds: With minor edits) Khetri (Assam), Nov 2 (PTI) Israels Ambassador to India Ron Malka on Monday said his country shares a close bond of friendship with India and the two countries complement each other.
Underlining the close bond between the two countries in recent years, he said it extended to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
'India and Israel complement each other. Both the countries are fighting coronavirus closely together,' he said at the foundation stone laying event of the Indo-Israeli Centre of Excellence for Vegetables Protected Cultivation at Khetri in the outskirts of Guwahati.
He welcomed Assam into the India-Israel partnership dynamics.
The foundation of the Centre of Excellence was laid by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
Earlier in the day, an Israeli delegation led by the diplomat called on Sonowal and held wide ranging discussion on various issues beneficial for both Israel and Assam.
Laying the foundation of the Centre of Excellence in the presence of the Israeli ambassador, Sonowal said it would be a value addition to the efforts of the government to double farmers' income through infusion of technology in agriculture, agribusiness and food processing.
The Rs 10.33 crore project is expected to bolster the agricultural activities in the state by providing exposure to latest Israeli technologies to the state's farmers and helping them maximize their production and income, Sonowal said.
He hoped that the Centre of Excellence will provide a major boost to agricultural and horticultural production in Assam leading to greater economic rewards to the state's farmers.
Highlighting the 'tremendous growth story' of the Northeast in the last six years due to the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sonowal said that the region has been taken from the periphery to the middle of the country's growth narrative through substantial improvement in air, road and river connectivity and setting the stage for the state to become the gateway to Southeast Asia and ASEAN.
The region is now seen as a promising destination for cultural exchange, trade and commerce, travel and tourism, he said.
Due to the positive interventions by the state government, Assam's annual production of food grain, fruits and vegetable has significantly increased in recent years.
Farmers in Assam are now able to export fruits and vegetables to places like Dubai, London, Bangkok, Abu Dhabi and other international destinations, he said.
Sonowal also laid emphasis on the Centre's plan to make Northeast an organic hub and elaborated on the initiatives taken by the state government in this regard.
He evinced keen interest in working with Israel in harnessing the strength of the sector in generating employment and contributing to the state's economic progress.
He also mentioned potential collaborations with Israel in furthering the growth of start-up ecosystem in the state through exchange programme and Israeli mentorship of various such projects in Assam.
Sonowal called for Israeli help in furthering the states industrial growth.
Israel's cooperation in various sectors will help Assam's farmers and entrepreneurs in finding a reliable platform at a much faster pace, the chief minister added. PTI ESB KK NN NN