Israel, India resume free trade talks

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Israel and India intend to sign a free trade agreement by mid-2022, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar announced on Monday.

Free trade negotiations between the countries are expected to resume in November.

Lapid thanked Jaishankar for his visit, marking 30 years of ties between the two countries.

“We have viewed India as an important ally for many years,” said Lapid. “India also offers new opportunities for cooperation.

Jaishankar and Lapid participated with Energy Minister Karin Elharrar in a ceremony marking Israel’s accession to the International Solar Alliance, established by India and France in 2015.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar (Credit: AVI HAYUN / DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGNERS)

Joining the alliance will allow the Jewish state to contribute knowledge and experience on solar energy, Elharrar said.

“Joining the ISA, along with the more than 80 countries that benefit from sunlight and advance solar energy, will allow Israel to contribute and benefit from the global battle against climate change and jointly promote solutions for a greener future, ”she said.

Elharrar expressed hope that Israel’s membership in the ISA will encourage Israeli entrepreneurs to bring new developments in the field of solar energy.

Jaishankar’s visit comes against a backdrop of warming ties between Delhi and Jerusalem since the election of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister of India in 2014. Modi visited Israel in 2017.

Jaishankar and Lapid discussed continued cooperation in the fields of water and agriculture, which the Foreign Ministry said have become a central part of relations between the countries.

They also agreed on mutual recognition of vaccination certificates from their countries.

Lapid said Israel and India have helped each other during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is how friends and partners act,” he said.

The ministers and their wives also visited the Shalva Center, which provides services to people with disabilities and their families. The Shalva Band, made up of students from the center, performed a song in Hindi, and the two couples ate at Café Shalva, which is manned by disabled workers.

Jaishankar met with Israeli and Indian business leaders on Sunday evening and called for strengthening trade relations between the countries.

“We regard Israel as our most reliable and innovative partner,” he said.

Jaishankar’s journey began during the Blue Flag air exercise in Israel, in which the Israeli, Indian, American, German, Italian, French, Greek and British air forces took part.

Zev Stub contributed to this report.


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