External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with Israeli Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem on Monday (Images courtesy: Twitter/@YairLapid)
India and Israel today decided to resume the Free Trade negotiations from next month, expressing full confidence that they will be wrapped up by June 2022.
Announcing this in Jerusalem today, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also welcomed Israel to the International Solar Alliance, a joint initiative of India and France which aims to the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement through rapid and massive deployment of solar energy.
"What a great pleasure it is to see Israel joining the International Solar Alliance. I think you bring a lot of value to the table. And as we approach COP 26, it's very important to know about our growing agenda- Green growth, Green economy is given its new place," said Jaishankar after his talks with Israeli Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Monday afternoon.
As both Jaishankar and Lapid watched, Israel's Minister of Energy Karine Elharrar signed the agreement on the accession of Israel to the International Solar Alliance, which the country's foreign minister said would allow Israel to contribute its knowledge and experience to the organisation.
Both ministers were also pleased with the resumption of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries in November and on mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccine certificates.
India and Israel have been negotiating a Free Trade Agreement since the first round of negotiation was held in New Delhi on May 26, 2010.
"Our officials have actually agreed on the resumption of the India-Israel, Free Trade negotiations. Starting the negotiating process, talks will start in November and they 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," said Jaishankar.
Agreeing on a mutual recognition of their respective vaccine certification process, Jerusalem would now allow people with Covishield vaccines to travel to Israel.
Besides discussing a wide range of regional and global issues, Jaishankar also apprised Lapid about his meeting with the business community on Sunday evening where he had extensively discussed the possibilities in innovation, digital, green growth, and health between the two economies.
"I'm also very happy at the inauguration of the Women and STEM mini conference on November 24, where women scientists from both sides participate. I think that's again a very rich, very representative of the direction in which our relationship has moved," he said.
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