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Highlights of EAM S Jaishankar’s Visit to Israel from October 17 to 21

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Highlights of Visit of External Affairs Minister Jaishankar to IsraelExternal Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar made a 5-day official visit to Israel from 17-21 October 2021 to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries. This was S Jaishankar’s 1st visit to Israel as EAM.

-India, Israel, US and UAE Agreed to Establish Economic Forum: New Quad 

i.As a part of the visit, the EAM had a 1st virtual meeting with the foreign minister of Israel, the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and the US (United States) and they have decided to establish an international forum for economic cooperation, which was termed as ‘New QUAD’.

  • The Indian EAM S. Jaishankar and Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid joined the meeting from Israel whereas the UAE foreign minister Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and US secretary of state Antony Blinken joined virtually from their respective capitals.

ii.The four ministers have discussed possibilities for joint infrastructure projects in the fields of transportation, technology, maritime security, economics and trade, water and agriculture.

iii.They have discussed expanding economic and political cooperation in the Middle East and Asia, through trade, combating climate change, energy cooperation, and increasing maritime security.

iv.The formation of ‘New QUAD’ will support India to engage more freely with Israel and India’s partners in the Gulf region.

  • Israel is India’s key security partner, the defence trade between the two countries is valued at about $1 billion annually. India is the largest buyer of Israel’s military hardware.

v.The ‘New Quad’ meeting comes on the back of the momentum created by the Abraham Accords.

  • In September 2020, Israel and UAE signed the Abraham Accord or the Israel–UAE peace agreement to establish full diplomatic ties which marked the 1st public normalization of relations between UAE & Israel.

Note – The 4 ministers planned for an in-person meeting in the coming months at Expo 2020 in Dubai.

He also released a book, “Bombay/Mumbai: City Heritage Walks” by Prof. Shaul Sapir, an India born scholar, who was a Professor at the prestigious Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Additional Info – In May 2021, India, Israel and the UAE had made their 1st Trilateral cooperation agreement, under which an Israel-based company ‘Ecoppia’ is set to produce robotic solar cleaning technology in India for a project in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Click here to know more

-India, Israel Agreed to Conclude Free Trade Agreement by June 2022

i.India and Israel agreed to restart both the nations’ Free Trade negotiations from November 2021 and conclude by June 2022.

  • India and Israel held their 1st round of negotiations on an FTA (Free Trade Agreement) in May 2010 but it was not achieved.

ii.The bilateral trade between both countries has grown from $200 million in 1992 to $4.14 billion (excluding defence deals) in April 2020-February 2021.

iii.India and Israel have also agreed to mutually recognise each countries vaccination certificates to ease the travel between the countries (amidst the COVID-19).

Note – The year 2022 will mark the 30 years of bilateral relations between India and Israel. The diplomatic relations between both nations were started in 1992.

-Israel’s Accession to the International Solar Alliance (ISA):

Israel’s energy minister Karine Elharrar has officially signed the agreement on Israel’s accession to the ISA in the presence of Israeli Foreign minister Yair Lapid and India’s EAM S Jaishankar.

  • About ISA: It was launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the then French President, Francois Hollande, at the Paris climate summit in 2015 to use solar energy and reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

-Indian Army Commemorates Haifa Day on September 23

i.Every year the Indian Army commemorates September 23 as the Haifa Day to pay respects to the three brave Indian Cavalry Regiments – Mysore, Hyderabad and Jodhpur Lancers – which helped to liberate Haifa.

ii.The EAM paid homage to the cemetery for Indian soldiers who died in the region during World War I in Talpiot, Jerusalem.

  • Around 900 Indian soldiers were buried in cemeteries across Israel in Jerusalem, Ramle and Haifa.

-EAM Unveils Plaque 

i.EAM visited the Indian Hospice in Jerusalem and unveiled a plaque at there to symbolise India’s age-old civilisational connection to the region.

  • The government of India has been contributing to the maintenance of Indian Hospice since 1960.
  • The Plaque depicts – ‘Indian Hospice, Estd. 12th century A.D., supported by Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi’

ii.EAM also unveiled the ‘Bhoodan Grove’ plaque at the Jerusalem Forest.

-EAM Visited Israel’s Ovda Airbase to Meet the IAF at Blue Flag 2021

i.EAM S. Jaishankar visited Israel’s Ovda Airbase to meet the Indian contingent participating in the biennial exercise Blue Flag 2021, which involves Air Force missions from 8 countries, to share knowledge and combat experience to improve operational capabilities.

ii.About Blue Flag 2021:

  • A total of 84 Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel were taking part in the Blue Flag 2021 international exercise along with IAF’s Mirage 2000 aircraft squadron.
  • The other nations participating in the exercise include the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Greece and Israel.
  • The 2-week exercise was started on October 17, 2021 and will conclude on October 28, 2021.

Recent Related News:

India’s External Affairs Minister (EAM) Subrahmanyam Jaishankar paid a visit to Slovenia (2-3rd September 2021), Croatia (3 September 2021) and Denmark (4-5 September 2021) to review the bilateral relationship and strengthen India’s cooperation with the 3 European countries.

About Israel:

Capital – Jerusalem
Currency – Israeli Shekel
Prime Minister – Naftali Bennett