The foreign ministers of India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates along with the United States secretary of state on Monday exchanged views during a virtual meeting on economic and political cooperation in Asia, PTI reported. The leaders also discussed ways to increase trade and maritime security.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is on a five-day visit to Israel. The foreign minister said that he had a “fruitful first meeting” with his counterparts from the United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

“I think it is very clear that on the big issues of our times we all think very similarly and what would be helpful would be if we could agree on some practical things to work upon,” Jaishankar said.

India and the United States said they have strategic partnerships with one another and also with the UAE and Israel.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that a forum shared by the four countries is better than drawing up bilateral agreements with every nation separately.

“And given so many overlapping interests [between the four countries] – energy, climate, trade, regional security – this seems like a really interesting and good idea to try and use this new format and very complementary capabilities in very many areas to just see many more things get done,” he said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said he looked forward to the “synergy” between the four countries. “Around this table we have a unique set of capabilities, knowledge and experiences that can be used to create a network that we all want to create,” Lapid said.

He also urged the three countries to find ways to translate the discussion into “real businesses” around the world.

UAE’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that bureaucratic rules often pose hurdles to trade between the countries. He suggested that the quadrilateral grouping should first create opportunities and observe the reactions of trading communities.

Before the four countries met on Monday, the US, Israel and the UAE had held a meeting on October 13 in Washington to discuss modalities of trilateral cooperation, The Hindu reported. They agreed to set up groups on religious coexistence and one on water and energy.

India, the UAE and Israel have also been in talks for trilateral cooperation in trade. The International Federation of Indo-Israel Chambers of Commerce has predicted that the strategic business partnership between the three countries could value more than $100 billion or Rs 7.5 lakh crore by 2030.

On Monday, Jaishankar and Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid agreed to resume negotiations for a free trade agreement, The Hindu reported. The ministers also agreed that India and Israel should recognise each other’s Covid-19 vaccination certificates to ease travel between the countries.