Israel appoints Consul General for Bangalore mission

Israel is all set to open its new consulate in Bangalore with the nomination of a senior diplomat as its Consul General, a move that is expected to give a big boost to an already burgeoning bilateral ties in the high-tech sector.

Menachem Kanafi, currently serving as Director of Southern African Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and who in the past has served as the deputy head of mission in Ankara and Counsellor of UN Department of Political Affairs, is likely to join office in Bangalore towards the end of August.

"Israel attaches a lot of significance to its relations with India. The warmth and goodwill in the relations were clearly demonstrated during the visit of the Indian foreign minister to Israel earlier this year.

"The new consulate in Bangalore will help promote our engagement with southern India", Kanafi told PTI.

"The thrust of the new consulate would be to further promote cooperation between the two countries in the field of hi-tech, deepen ties in the field of agriculture through setting up of Centres of excellence in the southern part of India."

It will also "promote mutual investment, explore cooperation in the field of water management and technologies, renewable energy, homeland security, and of course promoting people to people contact", he added.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna gave the green signal to an Israeli request to set up a consulate in Bangalore during his visit to Israel in January this year.

Israel's foreign minister Avogdor Lieberman had described the move as a "wonderful news coming at a time when the two countries are celebrating 20 years of establishment of diplomatic relations".

Senior representatives from the Israeli hi-tech sector, many with offices in Bangalore, have also welcomed the move saying that it will help cut down a lot of costs and time required to travel to other places for bureaucratic purposes.

Israel already has a consulate in Mumbai and its embassy is located in New Delhi.

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