India, Israel sign 9 agreements, may restart FTA talks

India, Israel sign 9 agreements, may restart FTA talks

India News

In an effort to diversify and broad-base engagement, India and Israel plan to scale up partnership in agriculture, science, security and technology. To increase trade and investment, the possibility of restarting negotiations on the India-Israel FTA was discussed too. At the end of delegation-level talks, nine agreements were signed, including in the fields of oil, gas, renewable energy and cyber cooperation. In addition, a joint industrial research and development deal and an update to an aviation agreement were inked, as were agreements in health and space exploration. In a joint address to the media with Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu following delegation-level talks in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “We will strengthen the existing pillars of cooperation in areas that touch the lives of our people. These are agriculture, science and technology and security.” On his part Netanyahu, described Modi as a “revolutionary leader”, who has catapulted India into the future. Hailing the meeting as the beginning of a new era of frienship between the two nations, the visiting leader said three things linked the two nations: An ancient past, a vibrant present, and the seizing of a positive future. He also commented that both countries “know the pain of terror”, but they “fight back and never give in”.Briefing the media at the end of talks, foreign secretary-designate Vijay Gokhale said that, “Co-operation in the agriculture was highlighted during talks. Both leaders were satisfied with the talks.” Urging the Israeli companies to take advantage of the liberalised FDI regime to make more in India with domestic companies, it was decided that defence ministries will hold discussions in 2018 with active involvement of the public and private sectors. According to a joint statement issued at the end of talks, “The two PMs noted with satisfaction the commencement and implementation of India-Israel development cooperation — three-year work programme in Agriculture (2018-2020) under the stewardship of the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs (MASHAV) and the ministry of agriculture of India aimed at increasing farmers’ productivity and optimisation of water use efficiency.”The two leaders welcomed the completion of all formalities for the launch of the India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F) that was announced during Modi’s visit to Israel in 2017. Launch of the first Call for Proposals under the fund to encourage enterprises from both countries to utilise this significant platform for undertaking joint R&D projects in innovative and futuristic technologies and products for the benefit of the people will be soon. In order to build a strong network between the next generation of the best women scientists and technologists of the two countries, an India-Israel Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Symposium will be organised in October 2018 in India.