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‘Mukherjee’s Israel visit a historic political milestone’

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New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee’s three-day state visit to Israel from Tuesday, the first by an Indian president, marks an historic political milestone and reflects the continued strengthening of bilateral relations, Israel has said.

Mukherjee, visiting at the invitation of his Israeli counterpart Reuven Rivlin, will receive an official reception at the Israeli president’s residence, after which the two heads of state will hold a working meeting.

Later, Rivlin will host a state dinner in honor of Mukherjee.

Rivlin said the visit of Mukherjee, “more than being an important milestone in the relationship of the two countries, will serve to deepen the friendship between our states, in the fields of economy, science, medicine, and agriculture”.

He said he was looking forward to the Indian president’s visit, “which will represent one of the highlights of the relationship between the Israeli and Indian peoples”.

Mukherjee’s itinerary includes a luncheon with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as meetings with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, and with Opposition chairman Isaac Herzog.

Mukherjee is to deliver an address at a special plenary meeting of the Knesset.

On October 15, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will confer an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree upon Mukherjee. The award will be conferred in recognition of his longtime exemplary public service as a leading diplomat and champion of social and financial reform; in tribute to his steadfast commitment to higher education; and in appreciation of his longstanding advocacy of the relationship with the State of Israel, said an official statement from the Israeli embassy here.

(IANS)

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Israel to Help India with Desertification and Water Management

World Day to Combat Desertification, which is observed every June 17 to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification

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The country is one of the world's leading nations in desert technologies and methods of dealing with desertification. Wikimedia Commons

At a time when several parts of India are facing acute water shortage and drought situation, Israel has expressed its keenness to share its experience in dealing with desertification and water management, in which it is a world leader.

Israel, with over 60 per cent of its territory being a desert and another 20 per cent semi-arid land, has developed a variety of solutions to desertification through desert agriculture, irrigation, desalination, aquaculture, afforestation and management of water resources. The country is one of the world’s leading nations in desert technologies and methods of dealing with desertification.

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The statement assumes significance as it comes at a time when several parts of India are facing acute water shortage and drought situation. Wikimedia Commons

“As part of our growing partnership with India, Israel is keen to work together and share all its experience and cutting edge technology in our joint fight against desertification, including a strategic partnership on water management and water security,” said Israeli Ambassador to India Ron Malka in a statement.

His statement came in the context of World Day to Combat Desertification, which is observed every June 17 to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. The statement assumes significance as it comes at a time when several parts of India are facing acute water shortage and drought situation.

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World Day to Combat Desertification, which is observed every June 17 to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. Wikimedia Commons

A statement issued by the Israeli Embassy said MASHAV, the country’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, places special emphasis on development cooperation and assistance in the fight against desertification and drought by introducing international programs of capacity building, training, project development and research.

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MASHAV’s approach is based on Israel’s experience in facing harsh climatic conditions, combines the transfer of adaptable technology, research and development, and a hands-on experience originating from leading Israeli experts and institutions, it added.

Under the Indo-Israeli Agricultural Project with the federal and state governments of India, the centre of excellence for date palms in the heart of the desert in Bhuj, Gujarat introduced Indian farmers to date palms suitable for arid conditions made more common by desertification, the statement said. Date palms are ideal value crops for farmers in arid conditions that can be found in India and Israel alike, it added. (IANS)