Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Tuesday that he agreed with his US, Emirati, and Indian counterparts to establish a forum for economic cooperation.
Lapid tweeted that he and his counterparts met in a virtual meeting and “decided to establish an international forum for economic cooperation”.
The four ministers “discussed possibilities for joint infrastructure projects in a wide range of fields,” he added.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed the virtual meeting with Lapid, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, saying they discussed “shared issues of concern in the region and globally”.
On Monday, Lapid met with Jaishankar in Jerusalem where both agreed to resume talks on a bilateral free trade agreement.
On Sept 15, 2020, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain signed a US-sponsored deal to normalise relations, followed by Sudan, and Morocco.
Ties between the New Delhi and Tel Aviv have grown closer in the seven years since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been in power, and a number of strategic, military and technology partnerships have been formed during that time.
Free trade talks were announced after the countries’ foreign ministers met in Jerusalem, where they also agreed on mutual recognition of vaccination certificates and expanded cooperation in water and agriculture, the countries said in a statement.
“We are continuing with our policy of connections, and we have seen in India a very important ally for many years. India also brings with her new opportunities for cooperation,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said.
India aims to sign new trade deals with several countries including Australia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Canada, to boost exports and help the country recover faster from its coronavirus-induced slowdown.
Total merchandise trade between the two countries stood at $4.67 billion by the end of last financial year ending in March, 2021, according to data from India’s trade ministry.
(With input from Reuters)