India, Israel launch innovation fund during Modi visit

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stands next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a farewell ceremony upon Modi's departure from Israel at Ben Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv, Israel July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - India and Israel have established a $40 million joint innovation initiative fund to increase economic cooperation and boost research and development within both countries.

The agreement was signed during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Israel. The three-day trip, which ended Thursday, was meant to help deepen commercial ties. It was the first time a sitting Indian prime minister came to Israel.

Each country will allocate $4 million per year over a five-year period for the fund’s activities, Israel’s Ministry of Economy said in a statement. It will be run by the Israel Innovation Authority and the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology.

Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are looking to increase bilateral trade and share technological know-how, particularly in the fields of water management and agriculture.

Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Steven Scheer