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Modi woos Israel Inc, touts reform measures

Modi woos Israel Inc, touts reform measures

Tel Aviv: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday invited the Israeli industry to participate in 'Startup India' initiative, saying his government has done a lot to improve the ease of doing business and is positioning the country as a global manufacturing hub.

"We have resolved number of regulatory and policy issues facing businesses and companies. We've worked very sincerely for ease of doing business," Modi said at the launch of India- Israel CEO's Forum here.

Memorandums of Understanding worth over USD 5 billion were signed during the Prime Minister's visit.

Referring to the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Modi said it is by far the biggest business and economic reform of India.

"Now, we are moving towards modern tax regime, which is transparent, stable and predictable," he said.

Modi, who is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel, further said his government was "positioning" India as a global manufacturing hub with a view to take advantage of the young population. He also talked about country's flagship programme 'Make In India'.

Observing that Israel is known as 'start-up nation', he said "it has a unique sense and ecosystem for innovation and incubation. Credit must go to the Israeli entrepreneurs".

"There is lot of potential for #IndiaIsrael partnership in @startupindia. I am happy that India-Israel start-up bridge has been formally launched today," India's External Affairs Ministry said in a tweet quoting Modi.

Modi, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also established an innovation bridge between start-ups and innovators of Israel and India for a better world.

Speaking at the event, Netanyahu said together the two countries have tremendous potential.

"...potential not only in markets but in creating new possibilities, new opportunities. We just saw this in crop protection or in water, the cleaning of water, or in energy, or in any field, in any field," said the Israeli Prime Minister.

He added that the Israeli side in the forum comprises people who run some of the most important companies, "and they do so with great talent and with great skill. You have brought similar people from India".

"We are making a partnership here, a real one, to excel in innovation for both our peoples and for the entire world," he said.

India-Israel CEO Forum, which met for the first time today, set a target to increase the bilateral trade from the current USD 4.13 billion to USD 20 billion within five years.

The forum also set up six joint committees covering start-ups, pharma and life sciences, homeland security, agriculture, energy and water management.

The India-Israel start-up bridge was launched to encourage start-ups of the two nations to work together and come up with innovative solutions to tackle challenges in the agriculture, water and healthcare sectors.

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