Ashkenazi speaks to Jaishankar as Israeli team leaves for Delhi to develop rapid COVID-19 testing

Harinder Mishra
·3-min read

Jerusalem, Jul 26 (PTI) Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi on Sunday called External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during which he pledged to strengthen collaboration between the two countries in the fight against coronavirus as a high-level Israeli delegation left for New Delhi to jointly develop rapid testing for COVID-19 in under 30 seconds.

'I spoke with Indian FM @DrSJaishankar. I updated him on the Israeli flight en route to India containing medical equipment. We agreed to strengthen our collaboration in the fight against Corona,' Ashkenazi tweeted following their telephonic conversation.

The Israeli foreign minister thanked his Indian counterpart for New Delhi's assistance in these efforts and also 'agreed to meet as soon as possible'.

Jaishankar earlier tweeted saying that the 'India-Israel partnership is currently focussed on combating the #COVID challenge. Even as it does, the larger agenda of cooperation continues to move forward'.

The high level Israeli delegation led by the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) in the Israel Ministry of Defense left for India on two flights on Sunday.

The delegation will complete a series of tests to determine the effectiveness of several Israeli technologies developed for the rapid diagnosis of COVID-19. These solutions may identify the presence of the virus rapidly, often within minutes.

The delegation includes approximately 20 experts in various fields, from the Ministries of Defense, Foreign Affairs and Health, as well as from the Israeli Defence Forces and various industries involved in the development of the diagnostic solutions. The delegation is led by Israel’s defense attaché to India, as well as Israel’s Ambassador to India, Dr. Ron Malka.

The aircraft is also carrying cutting-edge equipment from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and members of the private sector. This special delivery also includes ventilators, being exported to India following an exceptional approval.

On Friday, Israel's Alternate Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Benny Gantz talked to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and expressed hope that the strong bilateral ties between the two countries will also contribute significantly to the global efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Merging Israel's technological expertise with India's mass production capabilities, the two countries hope to make major headway in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. The results of the joint efforts can then be marketed to other countries around the world, officials here said.

Ashkenazi on Thursday emphasised on the 'great importance in cooperating with India in the fight against Corona'.

'This operation conveys a message of friendship and solidarity with India', the Israeli Foreign Minister stressed .

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu have held three telephonic conversations since the outbreak of the pandemic and promised mutual assistance in dealing with the virus, committing to joint technological and scientific research between the countries.

Both India and Israel have recently witnessed a major spike in the number of COVID-19 patients. While it has crossed a million mark in India, Israel has so far had 61,764 cases with 27,014 recoveries and 468 deaths till Sunday evening. PTI HM RUP ZH ZH