Indo-Israeli strategic partnership moves up with Free Trade prospect

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Ian Dunwoodie

Ian Dunwoodie

Wellington, October 24, 2021


Dr Jaishankar met President Isaac Herzog (left) and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (right) during his five-day visit to Israel from October 17 to 21, 2021

India’s Foreign Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was in Israel for five days from October 17 to October 21, 2021 to meet with Israeli Prime Minister, President and other senior officials and business leaders.

The Times of Israel reported that Dr Jaishankar went to the Indian cemetery in Jerusalem to honour 900 Indian soldiers who were buried there during World War I.

Martyrs of World War I

He is reported to have written in the guestbook, “I am deeply honoured to pay homage to the valiant sons of India who fought with bravery and courage in this land during WWI, bringing glory to themselves, their comrades and their motherland.”

That evening, Jaishankar met with Israeli business leaders. He is recorded as having said that India considers Israel “in many ways as perhaps our most trusted and innovative partner” and that the “degree of trust between us is very high.”

Ron Malka, former Israeli Ambassador to India, and current Director-General of the Israeli Economic Ministry responded by saying that Israel’s ties with India are “the biggest achievement we have done with any country in international affairs.”

He described the relationship as “a key strategic partnership.”


India’s Foreign Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar speaking at the bilateral meeting in Israel

Promoting Free Trade

One reason for the visit is to progress the India-Israel Free-Trade Agreement.

According to India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, trade between the two countries in the last financial year was US $4.67 billion. The Agreement is likely to conclude next year.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid was reported in the Jewish News Syndicate as saying, “We are continuing with our policy of connections, and we have seen in India a very important ally for many years. India also brings new opportunities for cooperation.”

India’s Foreign Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar with Israel Museum Board of Directors Chairman Isaac Molho
(Photo by Laura Lachman)

Other topics to be covered were environmental and energy issues.

Israel has been sharing its expertise in water technology with India.

The Times of Israel reported that Mashav, Israel’s international development organisation, has a Permanent Representative in India whose speciality is water. Another focus is to streamline bureaucratic processes that hinder Israeli businesses investing in India.

One of the highlights of the visit was a meeting between Dr Jaishankar and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Other meetings are with President Isaac Herzog, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and Energy Minister Karine Elharrar.        

Ian Dunwoodie was born in New Zealand and educated in New Zealand and Israel. A qualified lawyer, he has worked in Auckland, Wellington and London. He has developed an interest in the common experiences of New Zealanders, Indians and Israelis. As well as writing about these shared experiences, he is exploring the formation of an India-Israel-New Zealand Friendship Group. For more information,  please contact Ian Dunwoodie on 022-495 8287; Email:

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