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Remarks of External Affairs Minister after meeting with APM and FM Yair Lapid of Israel (October 18, 2021)

October 18, 2021

Thank you. First of all, let me see. 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.

If I can Minister, with your permission just speak on a few other issues as well. I have already had an opportunity to sit with the business community and yesterday evening, we discussed the possibilities in innovation, digital, green growth, and health between our two economies. So I am very confident about our relationship actually, as we approach its 30th year of upgradation to actually shift gears and know into a new phase.

I am therefore, particularly pleased that just as we came to this visit, 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.

Another issue on which we have been working on is, of course, how to travel in this Covid era. So I know that in principle, we have agreed on, mutual recognition of our vaccine certification process. And while we are working that out in the interim, Israel would allow people with Covishield vaccines to travel to Israel.

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.

I can only say, I am still absorbing this visit. It is first morning after arrival, but it's really a visit, which I look forward to very much. I am very confident that you will get a lot of things done over the discussions and I would hope very much that I have an early opportunity of welcoming you both in India. I look forward to that.

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