Israel, US, UAE, India agree to launch joint economic forum

Each minister agreed to appoint a professional to form a joint working group on possible cooperation in areas infrastructure, transportation, trains and maritime security.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets with Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. October 18, 2021. (photo credit: AVI HAYUN/FOREIGN MINISTRY)
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets with Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. October 18, 2021.
(photo credit: AVI HAYUN/FOREIGN MINISTRY)

The foreign ministers of Israel, the United States, the United Arab Emirates and India have agreed to establish a forum for economic cooperation.

In a video conference on Monday evening, they agreed to meet in person at the Dubai Expo 2020 in the coming months.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid hosted his Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, in Jerusalem for the quadripartite meeting.

“Synergy is what we are going to create, starting from this meeting,” Lapid said. “Synergy is what will help us work together on infrastructure, digital infrastructure, transportation, ports, trains and maritime security.”

The ministers agreed to appoint a professional to form a joint working group on possible cooperation in these areas.

Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar (L) and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (R). October 18, 2021. (credit: AVI HAYUN/FOREIGN MINISTRY)Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar (L) and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (R). October 18, 2021. (credit: AVI HAYUN/FOREIGN MINISTRY)

“The key to success is how fast we can go from ‘government-to-government’ to ‘business-to-business,’” Lapid said. “How fast can we turn this into a process that will put boots on the ground to change infrastructure around the world.”

The meeting was “fruitful,” Jaishankar said.

“Discussed working together more closely on economic growth and global issues,” he tweeted. “Agreed on expeditious follow-up.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken “reiterated the Biden administration’s support for the Abraham Accords and normalization agreements and discussed future opportunities for collaboration in the region and globally,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

Lapid and Jaishankar met on Monday and said Israel and India would resume negotiations for a free-trade agreement next month, with the aim of signing it in mid-2022.

Jaishankar also met with Energy Minister Karin Elharrar, who signed an agreement for Israel to join the International Solar Alliance, which India and France established in 2015. Joining the alliance would allow Israel to contribute its knowledge and experience on solar power, Elharrar said.

Jaishankar’s visit comes amid a warming of ties between Delhi and Jerusalem since the election of Narendra Modi as prime minister of India in 2014. Modi visited Israel in 2017.

His trip also began during the Blue Flag aerial exercise in Israel, in which the Israeli, Indian, US, German, Italian, French, Greek and UK air forces were taking part.