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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Israel looking forward to promote I2U2 initiative, says envoy

As part of the I2U2 initiative, US President Joe Biden will hold a virtual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during his visit to West Asia from July 13 to 16.

Written by Harikishan Sharma | New Delhi |
Updated: June 17, 2022 5:43:18 am
Eynat Shlein, head of MASHAV, Israeli agency for international development cooperation. (ANI)

Israel is looking forward to promote the new I2U2 initiative, a new grouping of India, Israel, USA and UAE, said Eynat Shlein, head of MASHAV, Israeli agency for international development cooperation on Thursday. In the grouping’s name, ‘I2’ stands for India and Israel, whereas ‘U2’ stands for USA and the UAE.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Shlein said, “The fact that the two close strategic partners of Israel — US and India — chose to become a part of this cooperation, of this new initiative, tells you the significance of this initiative.”

“We are really looking forward to promote this new initiative,” Shlein said.

As part of the I2U2 initiative, US President Joe Biden will hold a virtual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during his visit to West Asia from July 13 to 16.

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Responding to a query about “I2U2”, Shlein said, “MASHAV is of course very interested in this initiative as the entire government of Israel is. I think, this is a great achievement which tells you the geopolitical changes that happen in the region.”

Discussing India-Israel relationship, Shlein said that the two countries saw “ups and downs” in the past but “that time has passed and now interests are one”.

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“So, this is also a part of the regional or even global change in the way we do things…in the past, you would only have very close partnerships of this kind with your immediate neighbours. Now, that we’re in a digital world…you could do wonderful things together and really fully utilise the benefit that each country has to offer. And in this regard, we are really looking forward to promote this new initiative,” she said.

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“And specifically, as we speak of MASHAV…I think there’s a lot of potential we are definitely going to be involved, and we’re still at the leadership level, but once it starts dwelling into action items, we stand ready to be there,” Shlein said.

Asked how can the I2U2 nations cooperate on the issue of food security, Shlein said, “They can do a lot…I mean, the first of all, it’s about involvement in development projects. It’s about creativity and budgets. And it’s about building alliances.”

“In order to succeed in the quest for food security, you need lots of partners, you need to build alliances — political alliances, social alliances,” she said.

On a question on India’s ban on wheat export, Shlein said, “There needs to be a balance between domestic interests and foreign interests and obviously the state of Israel does not interfere in the domestic decisions of any government, we feel the need to promote food security.”

Discussing Indo-Israel cooperation in the water and agriculture sectors, Shlein said that 13 more centres of excellence will come up under the Indo-Israel Agriculture Project in the country by early next year, which will increase the number to 42.

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