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Indian external affairs minister S Jaishankar and Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Monday agreed on the mutual recognition of the Covid-19 vaccination certificates.

The development came during Jaishankar's three-day visit to Israel. The minister also thanked Israel for joining the International Solar Alliance.

Further, the two countries also agreed to resume negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) from next month as they are confident to conclude the long-pending deal by June next year.

"Our officials have actually agreed on the resumption of the India-Israel free trade negotiations starting in November. They are very confident that we would be able to conclude the negotiations by next June," said Jaishankar. 

Discussions around the FTA have been going on between the two sides for more than a decade but it is the first time that a definite deadline has been set, providing seriousness to the process.

Several announcements on the issue have been made by the two sides over the years but the agreement has remained elusive.

On his part, Lapid also stressed that the FTA will be "finalised as fast as we can" in the interest of both the countries and business communities.

"I am looking forward to deeply strengthening friendship between our countries," he said, describing India as "one of our most, not only a strategic partner but also a friend."

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

The two ministers also discussed further cooperation in the areas of water and agriculture.

Israel has also joined the International Solar Alliance (ISA), a global initiative that India has spearheaded, with Jaishankar and Israel's Energy Minister Karine Elharrar signing on the agreement.

Israel’s former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in November last year had said that his country is a partner to India in its quest for less carbon and less pollution while attending a digital conference of the ISA at the personal invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

 

 

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