New Delhi, Oct 19: External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar and his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid on Monday decided to renew negotiations on a free trade area agreement between the two countries in November, with the aspiration that the agreement will be ready for signature by the middle of 2022.
Jaishankar, who is on a three-day visit to Israel, met Lapid and the two also agreed on mutual recognition of vaccination certificates as well as to expand cooperation in the areas of water and agriculture, which in recent years have become a central anchor of bilateral relations.
“I thank my friend, Dr. Jaishankar, for his visit to Israel, a visit which is a precursor of events which will take place next year to mark thirty years of bilateral relations between India and Israel,” Lapid said after the meeting.
“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 added.
Following the meeting, a signing ceremony was held marking Israel’s accession to the the International Solar Alliance, founded in 2015 on the initiative of India and France, which will allow Israel to contribute its knowledge and experience to the organisation.
Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar participated in the meeting and signed the agreement on behalf of her country.
“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,” she said.
Thanking India for the support, Elharrar said that she is hopeful that membership in this organisation 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 and to bring her country to the global forefront in this field as well.
Lapid and Jaishankar, accompanied by their spouses, later visited the Shalva Centre, which cares for children with disabilities and provided support to their families.