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Highlights of Israel Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s Visit to India – May 9 to 11 2023

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Israel Foreign Minister Eli Cohen arrives in India on 3-day visit-May 9 to 11Foreign Minister of Israel Eli Cohen has arrived in New Delhi, Delhi, for his first official three-day visit to India from May 9 to 11, 2023.

  • Israel Foreign Minister Eli Cohen launched the project World on Wheels (WoW) Bus, by the Embassy of Israel in India.
  • The project World on Wheels aims to facilitate digital literacy, personality development, and entrepreneurship training in rural parts of India.

-India, Israel Signed an Agreement to allow 42,000 Indians to work in Israel

i.Eli Cohen had a meeting with his Indian counterpart, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

ii.Under the meeting, both ministers signed an agreement that will allow 42,000 Indian workers to work in the Jewish state of Israel in the fields of construction and nursing.

  • As per the agreement statement, 34,000 workers will be engaged in the construction field and another 8,000 for nursing needs.
  • The objective of the agreement was to support the rising cost of living in Israel and assist families who are in need of nursing care in Israel.

-Expanding Cooperation in Different Fields

The two foreign ministers held productive and wide ranging discussions on the main pillars of India and Israel’s strategic partnership – agriculture, water, defence and security.

i.New agreements were also signed by both nations in the area of mobility, water, and agriculture.

ii.The ministers Jaishankar and Cohen discussed ways to strengthen the Indo-Israel relationship by adding direct flights, continuing cooperation in agriculture and water management, and expanding cooperation in the fields of artificial intelligence and cyber defence.

iii.Both Jaishankar and Cohen discussed the progress in the I2U2 (India, Israel, United States, and United Arab Emirates) grouping as well as cooperation in multilateral forums.

iv.Rail and Port Network:

  • Backdrop: The national security advisers of the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and India met on May 7, 2023, to discuss building a rail and port network to link the Gulf states, other Arab countries, and India.
  • For the proposed rail and port link, the Israeli foreign minister stated that the country would shorten the route between Asia and Europe and make Israel a commercial, technological and transportation hub in the changing trade routes in the Middle East.

v.Cohen stated that India could play a significant role in expanding the Abraham Accords and promoting regional projects with countries (that do not yet have relations with Israel).

Note – The Abraham Accords of 2020 was the first Arab-Israeli peace deal in 26 years and is the popular description for the normalisation of Israel’s ties with the Islamic world.

-Exploring Partnerships in Advanced defence technologies

i.Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met with the Israeli delegation, led by Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, in New Delhi, Delhi.

  • Rajnath Singh underlined India’s priority towards indigenisation in accordance with the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Policy’.

ii.The cooperation being extended by Israeli companies to India is acknowledged by Rajnath Singh and he encouraged them for more investments in India and for forging joint ventures with Indian partners to manufacture defence equipment in India.

iii.The Israeli Minister also affirmed the continued cooperation of Israel in India’s endeavour for indigenisation and conveyed the willingness to cooperate and partner in advanced defence technologies.

iv.As the diplomatic relationship between India and Isreal has completed 30 years and both nations acknowledged continuing the relationship to further strengthen the bilateral ties.

Points to be noted:

i.India’s bilateral merchandise trade increased to a record US$ 10.12 billion in FY23 (April 2022 -Feb 2023) from US$ 7.86 billion in FY22.

ii.Eli Cohen attended the India-Israel Business Forum which was organised by the industry chamber Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on May 9, 2023.

  • As per the statement from CII, Eli Cohen participated in a special conversation organised by the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute on May 9 in New Delhi, Delhi.

iii.Israeli Foreign Minister’s visit is in preparation for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to India later this year.

Note – Israeli Economy Minister Nir Barkat visited India in April 2023 with a business delegation to strengthen bilateral ties in common areas of interest, automotive technologies, and fintech.

Recent Related News:

From April 3–5, 2023, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the King of Bhutan, visited India on an official trip at the invitation of President Droupadi Murmu.

His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was accompanied by Lyonpo Dr. Tandi Dorji, Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, and other top Royal Government of Bhutan officials.

About Isreal:

President – Isaac Herzog
Prime Minister – Benjamin Netanyahu
Currency –  Israeli Shekel
Capital – Jerusalem