Chandigarh: India and Israel's bilateral trade is close to USD 8 billion and the figure does not include defence equipment, said Israel's Ambassador to India Naor Gilon.

In an interview with ANI, Gilon said that the diplomatic relations had started 30 years ago and the two countries had USD 200 million in trade.

"When we started full diplomatic relations 30 years ago, we had USD 200 million in trade. So now we are close to USD 8 billion. And this is without defence. Our numbers are quite good going on," Gilon said.

Talking about investments in India, Gilon said that nearly 300 Israeli companies have invested in India. In Pune, Amdocs Israeli company is the biggest Israeli employee here with around 14,000 Indian employees

"When Dr Jaishankar was in Israel, he spoke about going forward with FTA. But unfortunately, it's a bit stacked as we are doing so many things in parallel, incl FTAs with other countries. I hope it will be back on track soon & we can finalize the FTA," Israel Ambassador Naor Gilon said.

India and Israel's relationship is friendly and on good terms. In July 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Israel, the first visit by an Indian head of government. During the visit, PM Modi met with Moshe Holzberg. In January 2019, then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was joined by Holzberg and Samuel on a visit to Mumbai, reported The Jerusalem Post.

In the area of defence and security, India is now the largest buyer of Israeli military equipment, with exports to India constituting 46 per cent of Israel's total arms exports. Israel is the second largest supplier of military equipment to India after Russia, New Delhi's traditional armorer.

The burgeoning relations are not limited to the defence sphere. In the area of agriculture and water management, Indian authorities have partnered with Mashav, Israel's international development organization, to develop methods to cope with an emergent water crisis, reported The Jerusalem Post.