Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett and Indian Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram agreed in a New Delhi meeting Monday night to establish a joint research and development fund for Israel and India.

Working groups will iron out the details of the bilateral fund, expected to reach several million dollars in size, starting next month, with both the Finance Ministry and the Economy and Trade Ministry representing Israel in the talks.

“Israel cannot be reliant solely on the Western markets,” Bennett said during his official visit to the country, which will last five days. “India is a rising economic powerhouse. With over 1.2 billion residents, a democracy, it is a first-rate economic target for Israel.”

Trade between Israel and India hit $4.4 billion in 2012.

Bennett said Israel would send a third trade representative to the country in the coming weeks. The representative will be based in Bangalore, adding to the missions in Mumbai and New Delhi.

This is not the first fund to further ties between the two nations. The Finance and Economy and Trade ministries have thus far given NIS 37 million to 25 companies through programs to expand Israel’s reach in the Indian market.

In June, The Jerusalem Post reported about an agreement for the two nations to set up a joint fund to deepen hi-tech economic relations.

“We know for a fact that Israel is one of the most innovative nations in the world,” Indian Communications and Information Technology Minister Kapil Sibal told the Post at the time. “We believe that to translate innovations into goods and services requires the marriage of industry with innovation. India provides an ideal environment with a low cost environment and a high quality workforce.”

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