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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Israel, India to resume free trade talks

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Israel and India aim to sign a free trade agreement by the middle of 2022, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar announced on Monday.

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

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

“We see India as an important ally for many years,” Lapid stated. “India also brings new opportunities for cooperation.”

Jaishankar and Lapid also participated in a ceremony with Energy Minister Karin Elharrar, in which Israel joined the International Solar Alliance, which India and France established in 2015. Joining the alliance will allow Israel to contribute its knowledge and experience on solar power.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid with India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar (credit: AVI HAYUN/FOREIGN MINISTRY)

“Joining the ISA, along with over 80 countries that are blessed with sunlight and are advancing solar energy, will allow Israel to contribute and gain from the global battle against climate change and promote solutions together for a greener future,” Elharrar said.

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

Jaishankar’s visit comes amid a warming of 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 further cooperation in the areas of water and agriculture, which the Foreign Ministry said has become a central element in relations between the countries.

The foreign ministers also agreed on mutual recognition of their countries’ vaccine certificates.

Lapid said that Israel and India helped one another during the COVID-19 pandemic: “That is how friends and partners act.”

The ministers also visited the Shalva Center, which provides services for people with disabilities and their families.

Jaishankar met with Israeli and Indian business leaders on Sunday evening, calling to increase trade ties between the countries.

“We regard Israel as our most trusted and most innovative partners,” he said.

His trip also began during the Blue Flag aerial exercise in Israel, in which the Israeli, Indian, American, German, Italian, French, Greek and UK air forces took part.

Zev Stub contributed to this report.

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