Thursday, Dec 9 2021 | Time 12:15 Hrs(IST)

Jaishankar visit: India, Israel to resume FTA talks, agree on mutual recognition of Covid vaccine certification

Jaishankar visit: India, Israel  to resume FTA talks, agree on mutual recognition of Covid vaccine certification

Jerusalem/New Delhi, Oct 18 (UNI) India and Israel agreed to resume negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement from next month and also agreed in principle on mutual recognition of their Covid vaccination certification, during bilateral talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid on Monday.
Israel also joined the International Solar Alliance on Monday, with Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar signing the agreement.
In his remarks prior to the talks, Jaishankar said that negotiations on the India-Israel Free Trade Agreement will start in November and that officials from both sides “are very confident that they would be able to conclude the negotiations by next June. So it's something that we very much look forward to.”He said that both sides are working on travel in the Covid era. “So I know that in principle, we have agreed on, mutual recognition of our vaccine certification process. And while we are working that out in the interim, Israel would allow people with Covishield vaccines to travel to Israel,” he added.He also voiced happiness at the inauguration of the Women and STEM mini conference on November 24, where women scientists from both sides would be participating. “I think that's again a very rich, very representative of the direction in which our relationship has moved,” he added.He also hoped to have an early opportunity of welcoming both Lapid and Elharrar to India.Referring to his meeting with the Israeli Chambers of Commerce on Sunday night, he said during the meeting “we discussed the possibilities in innovation, digital, green growth, and health between our two economies. So I am very confident about our relationship actually, as we approach its 30th year of upgradation to actually shift gears and move into a new phase.”The meeting between Jaishankar and his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem.
The two Ministers also agreed to expand cooperation in the areas of water and agriculture, which in recent years have become a central anchor of the relations between the two countries, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.
Yair Lapid, in his remarks, thanked Jaishankar for his visit to Israel, which he described as “a precursor of events which will take place next year to mark thirty years of bilateral relations between India and Israel”.
“We are continuing with our policy of connections, and we have seen in India a very important ally for many years. India also brings with her new opportunities for cooperation.”
“In the last year, we have dealt, India and Israel, with the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have helped one another during this crisis. This is how friends and partners behave,” he said.
Minister of Energy Karine Elharrar participated in the meeting between the Foreign Ministers and signed the agreement on behalf of the Government of Israel in the presence of the two Foreign Ministers.
Elharrar, in her remarks, said: “Membership in the ISA, alongside more than 80 countries blessed with sun and promoting solar energy, will enable the State of Israel to contribute to the global struggle against climate change and to advance together solutions for a greener future. I’m hopeful that membership in this organization which has engraved on its flag investment in research and development in the field of solar energy will encourage Israeli entrepreneurs to bring forth developments in the field of energy and to bring the State of Israel to the global forefront in this field as well.”
India proposed a Free Trade Agreement with Israel in 2010. The two sides held the eighth round of negotiations in Israel in November 2013. The main focus of the FTA is in areas like information technology, biotechnology, and agriculture.
Jaishankar arrived on Sunday on a five-day official visit to Israel at the invitation of Yair Lapid.He is to call on President Isaac Herzog, and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
This is his first visit to Israel as External Affairs Minister.UNI RN

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