Israel researchers in India to help develop rapid test kit

Jerusalem, July 28:

Pitching for further strengthening of relations, Israel on Monday said the supply of advanced medical equipment to India was the reciprocation of the help extended to it by the South Asian country to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

India had on April 7 sent to Israel medical equipment and five tonnes of medicines, including hydroxychloroquine, which was earlier dubbed as a game changer in the fight against coronavirus.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had reached out to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi with a special request for the supplies.

A special flight carrying researchers, defense experts and advanced medical equipment from Israel landed India on Monday.

The Israeli team will join hands with researchers in India to develop a rapid testing solution for COVID-19.

Reacting to it, Deputy Director General for Asia and the Pacific at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gilad Cohen, wrote in a blog for Times of Israel that the unprecedented global pandemic has provided an opportunity for both countries to “assist each and further enhance their relations”.

“Israel’s exceptional gesture today was a welcome ‘thank you’ to India, which, just a few months ago, sent medicines and other essential diagnostic equipment,” Cohen wrote, adding that his country “went out of its way” to approve the export and transfer of sophisticated ventilators to India.

“In this way, Israel and India successfully transformed this unprecedented global pandemic into an opportunity to assist one another and further enhance their relations,” he asserted.

Pointing out the improvement in the Indo-Israel relations over the past several years, the diplomat said it’s hard to believe that just three decades ago, Indian passports were valid for every country except Israel.

Cohen in his blog also highlighted the growth in the bilateral trade, which was just US dollar 200 million in 1992, when the diplomatic relations were established between both countries.

Cohen also hailed the leadership of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the country is emerging as a regional and global power under him. The Israeli team, comprising 20 experts from various fields, will help development diagnostic technologies.

It is being led by Israel’s Ambassador to India Ron Malka and Defense Attache Col Assaf Meller.

The team also includes Prof. Nati Keller, an infectious diseases specialist from Sheba Medical Center; and Itai Gordon, head of the Innovation Department at the Israel’s Ministry of Health.

The delegation includes engineers and other professionals from the companies involved in the development of various diagnostic solutions.

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