Punjab CM Amarinder Singh arrives in Israel for 5-day visit
Tel Aviv, Oct 22: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has arrived in Israel on a five-day visit to strengthen cooperation with the Jewish nation in key sectors like agriculture, horticulture and dairy.
Singh, accompanied by a delegation of officials, reached Israel Sunday evening. Singh had postponed the visit in the wake of the Amritsar train accident in which 59 people were killed and 57 injured on Friday.
Earlier, he was to leave for Israel in on October 19. The decision to visit Israel was taken after the administration felt completely satisfied with the relief and rehabilitation measures being carried out for the victims of the Amritsar train tragedy, an official spokesman said in Chandigarh.
He will be visiting several facilities and institutions working in sectors such as agriculture, horticulture, dairy and waste water management to tap opportunities that can address Punjab's requirements, and boost the state's internal security apparatus.
Ahead of his visit, the Punjab chief minister had said his government was keen to tap technological advancements on offer by the country. On Tuesday, a seminar, "Investment Opportunities in Punjab" has been organised to attract investments in the state from Israel.
The Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) will be signing MoUs with the Tel Aviv University and the Galilee Institute for cooperation in the field of agriculture. Another MoU will be signed in the field of water conservation by the visiting delegation.
Singh has emphasised that farmers in Punjab should diversify their crop pattern and get out of the paddy-wheat cycle, replicating the latest practices of drip irrigation and hydroponics in view of the depleting water table in the state.
During a meeting with an Israeli delegation ahead of his visit, he had evinced interest in adopting Israeli know-how to boost the dairy sector.
He had also expressed interest in visiting Israeli orchards and nurseries to secure first-hand knowledge of the technological advancements in hybrid production of plants.
Punjab is also seeking Israeli assistance in improving the quality of citrus fruits as the state is a leading producer of Kinnow and wants to go for mass plantation of sweet oranges, which finds a remunerative market.
The Singh-led delegation will be also given a presentation on Israeli expertise in the homeland security sector and will visit the academy of a leading Israeli security company during the trip.
Security officials from the state are said to have also made trips earlier to Israel to tap state-of-the-art technology and gain expertise in intelligence and homeland security to boost Punjab's security apparatus.
Singh is scheduled to call upon Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and Minister of Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz during his trip.
He will be also visiting the cemetery of Indian soldiers who laid their lives during the War of Liberation of Haifa in 1918.
Haifa celebrated the centenary year of its liberation by Indian cavalry units in September paying warm tributes to the courage shown by them in what is considered by most of the War Historians as the "last great cavalry campaign in history".