India to conclude FTA with Israel next year; agree on mutual recognition of vaccine certificates

India and Israel will resume negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) from next month, said Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on Monday during his first visit after the new government took over in June

Oct 18, 2021
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India to conclude FTA with Israel next year

India and Israel will resume negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) from next month, said Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on Monday during his first visit after the new government took over in June. The FTA talks will be concluded by June next year. Significantly, both countries also agreed, in principle, on mutual recognition of the vaccination process as they seek to broaden their strategic partnership, indicating that the new coalition government was equally committed to ties with New Delhi as the previous government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who had developed a close friendship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  

During the visit, Israel has also announced joining the International Solar Alliance—a global initiative spearheaded by India and France. Israel's Energy Minister Karine Elharrar and Jaishankar signed the agreement. Israel will also allow entry to the Indians vaccinated with the Covishield vaccine. 

Jaishankar has held extensive discussions with the alternate prime minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. He will also call on President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Jaishankar will also be holding talks with leading academics from all over Israel, business community leaders, and interacting with the Indian Jewish community. India and Israel elevated bilateral relations to a strategic partnership during the historic visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Israel in July 2017.

Apart from the close cooperation in  agriculture, defense and intelligence sharing, the two countries expanded the ties in other domains, including knowledge-based partnership, collaboration in innovation and research, including boosting the Make in India initiative.  

Emphasizing the similarities shared by the two countries, Jaishankar said, "Our two countries share values of democracy and pluralism. We also share some of our guiding civilizational philosophies: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam in India, or the world is one family, and Tikun Olam in Israel, or heal the world.” 

He further added, "We also share similar challenges to our society from radicalism and terrorism, apart from many other emerging developments on the geopolitical landscape."