Jerusalem: Acknowledging India's growing status as a regional economic power, Israel's President Shimon Peres has asked New Delhi to use its strength in solving the problem of poverty in the Middle East.

Israeli President also asked India to "help the Arab states in addressing their developmental challenges", sources here told a news agency.

Peres also offered Israel's help in this regard as he felt "it is good for Israel too". Commenting on the emerging global scenario, the elder statesman said that the world currently faces a "deficit of leadership" and that "there is too much money and too little ideas".

The Israeli leader made these comments during recently concluded fourth India-Israel forum where he was the guest of honour.

Sam Pitroda, Adviser to the Prime Minister of India on Public Infrastructure, Information and Innovation proposed setting up a "knowledge city" in India with Israel's help at the forum.

Pitroda suggested that the follow up meeting of the forum include a setting up of domain-expert groups in five sectors – agriculture, water, health, energy and hi-tech. He also proposed exchange of corporate executive, professors and students.

Highlighting the impressive growth registered in bilateral trade between India and Israel, the adviser to India's Prime Minister suggested that the forum focus on cooperation in hi-tech sector and critical areas, including water conservation, renewable and agriculture.

Israel's Minister of Finance, Yuval Steinitz, also addressed the forum underlining the need to conclude the ongoing negotiations on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

With cooperation in the field of homeland security between the two countries tightening following the Mumbai terror attacks, Israel's Minister for Homeland Security, Matan Vilnai, also addressed the forum noting counter-terrorism challenges faced by both countries.