H.E. Mr. Eliyahu Cohen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, paid an official visit to India on 09 May 2023. He was accompanied by a 37-member business delegation, apart from senior officials of the Israeli Government. This was his first visit to India as Foreign Minister.
H.E. Mr. Cohen called on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and conveyed warm greetings from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. PM Modi emphasized the deepening innovation and knowledge partnership between India and Israel and tapping into the wide-ranging complementary of the two economies.
External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and Foreign Minister Cohen held bilateral talks in which they touched upon various aspects of bilateral cooperation, including connectivity, mobility, academic and scientific research, fintech, agriculture, water, trade, etc, and agreed to further diversify the basket of collaboration. They also discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest, including cooperation under the framework of I2U2, the ongoing conflict in Sudan, developments in West Asia, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, etc.
Both Ministers paid homage to the Indian soldiers at the Teen Murti Haifa Chowk, New Delhi, which is a symbol of the shared history between the two countries and reflects the enduring India-Israel friendship.
Both Ministers initialled on a ‘Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Temporary Employment of Workers in Specific Labour Market Sectors in Israel’ for the recruitment of construction workers and caregivers from India. Both sides also exchanged two Letters of Intent for setting up of Centres of Water Technology at IIT, Roorkee and IIT, Madras and another LoI for establishment of an upgraded Centre of Innovation in Agriculture at ICAR, Pusa, New Delhi.
H.E. Mr. Cohen also met with Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh and NSA Shri Ajit Doval to discuss prospects of further defence and security cooperation between the two countries.
The visit is an opportunity to deepen the ongoing agriculture and water collaboration between the two countries. In this regard, Mr. Cohen met the Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. The two Ministers also co-chaired the India-Israel Business Forum organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Three B2B MoUs were signed between CII and Israeli business bodies at the Forum.
India and Israel have an extensive strategic relationship strengthened by frequent high-level interactions. Mr. Cohen’s visit is the third high-level visit from Israel to India this year. Earlier, Israeli Parliament’s Speaker, H.E. Mr. Amir Ohana, visited India in March and Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry, H.E Nir Barkat, in April. India’s bilateral merchandise trade was US$ 7.86 billion in FY 2021–2022, which has scaled up to a record US$ 10.12 billion in FY 2022-23 (April – Feb).
The visit of Foreign Minister Eliyahu Cohen has provided further impetus to the bilateral relations between India and Israel, which have remained on a qualitatively higher trajectory ever since the historic visit of Prime Minister Modi to Israel in July 2017.