New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was glad to have met Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and both discussed ways to further deepen the bilateral cooperation. The Israeli Foreign Minister said he was happy to have met PM Modi “a true friend of Israel”.
In a tweet, the PM said of his meeting with the Israeli FM on Tuesday:
“Glad to have met Foreign Minister of Israel @elicoh1.
“We discussed ways to further deepen bilateral cooperation in priority areas of agriculture, water, innovation and people-to-people ties.”
The Israeli Foreign Minister who was here for a day, said he spoke with PM Modi about strengthening the strategic relations, expanding the Abraham Accords, and promoting a free trade agreement to boost Israel’s economy.
“I was happy to meet today with the Prime Minister of India @narendramodi, a true friend of Israel.
“India is a world power, the fifth largest economy and the most populous country in the world.
“I spoke with Modi about strengthening the strategic relations between the countries, expanding the Abraham Accords, and promoting a free trade agreement that will boost Israel’s economy.
“I thanked him for his warm attitude towards the State of Israel and the Jewish community in India, and we agreed to continue to strengthen the excellent ties between Israel and India.”
A press statement said that Eliyahu Cohen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, paid an official visit to India on May 9. He was accompanied by a 37-member business delegation, apart from senior officials of the Israeli Government. This was his first visit to India as Foreign Minister.
Cohen called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and conveyed warm greetings from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. PM Modi emphasized the deepening innovation and knowledge partnership between India and Israel and tapping into the wide-ranging complementary of the two economies.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Foreign Minister Cohen held bilateral talks in which they touched upon various aspects of bilateral cooperation, including connectivity, mobility, academic and scientific research, fintech, agriculture, water, trade, etc, and agreed to further diversify the basket of collaboration.
They also discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest, including cooperation under the framework of I2U2, the ongoing conflict in Sudan, developments in West Asia, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, etc.
Both Ministers paid homage to the Indian soldiers at the Teen Murti Haifa Chowk, New Delhi, which is a symbol of the shared history between the two countries and reflects the enduring India-Israel friendship, the statement said.
Both Ministers initialled on a ‘Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Temporary Employment of Workers in Specific Labour Market Sectors in Israel’ for the recruitment of construction workers and caregivers from India.
Both sides also exchanged two Letters of Intent for setting up of Centres of Water Technology at IIT, Roorkee and IIT, Madras and another LoI for establishment of an upgraded Centre of Innovation in Agriculture at ICAR, Pusa, New Delhi.
FM Cohen also met with Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh and NSA Ajit Doval to discuss prospects of further defence and security cooperation between the two countries.
The visit is an opportunity to deepen the ongoing agriculture and water collaboration between the two countries. In this regard, FM Cohen met the Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. The two Ministers also co-chaired the India-Israel Business Forum organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Three B2B MoUs were signed between CII and Israeli business bodies at the Forum.
India and Israel have an extensive strategic relationship strengthened by frequent high-level interactions.
FM Cohen’s visit is the third high-level visit from Israel to India this year. Earlier, Israeli Parliament’s Speaker, Amir Ohana, visited India in March and Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry, Nir Barkat, in April.
India’s bilateral merchandise trade was US$ 7.86 billion in FY 2021–2022, which has scaled up to a record US$ 10.12 billion in FY 2022-23 (April – Feb).
The visit of Foreign Minister Eliyahu Cohen has provided further impetus to the bilateral relations between India and Israel, which have remained on a qualitatively higher trajectory ever since the historic visit of Prime Minister Modi to Israel in July 2017, it added.