March 22, 2018

Israelis accept India's strategic need to maintain ties with Palestine

10 February 2018, 06:55 | Taylor George

India Can Play Key Role In Middle East Peace Process: Palestine President Abbas

President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas presents to Prime Minister Narendra Modi a portrait with his name inscribed in Arabic in New Delhi

The visit to Palestine may have come as a dampener to many Israeli India enthusiasts who have looked excited at the burgeoning ties between India and Israel but on the contrary there seems to be an understanding of "India's national interest".

PM Modi is scheduled to hold discussions with the country's president and reaffirm India's support for the Palestinian people and the development of Palestine.

Modi arrived here on the first leg of his tour of three West Asian countries, including Palestine. Abbas welcomed Modi as a guest to the country and said that the Indian leadership has always stood for peace in Palestine.

Mr. Modi begins his speech expressing gratitude for being honoured with the Grand Collar of the State of Palestine. After the community event which will take place in a big stadium in Muscat, Mr Modi will meet with Sultan Qaboos and there will be a special dinner hosted by Sultan Qaboos in honor of the Prime Minister.

The fourth aspect, according to Bhaskar, is India's continuous support to the Palestinian cause at various global fora. The mausoleum was unveiled on November 10, 2007 and is located adjacent to the Palestinian Presidential compound, also known as Muqata'a here.

The visit will be exclusively in the Palestinian territories, no stopover in Israel is planned this time.

Arafat, born in 1929 in Cairo, served as Palestine's president for eight years until his death on November 11, 2004. After Palestine, the prime minister would visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman.

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Experts say that sustained engagement with the Arab World has been a success story of Indian foreign policy under the Modi government and it has raised partnership to the next level.

Still, India's traditional sympathy toward the Palestinian cause is visible.

India-Israel trade totalled 5 billion dollars in 2016-2017, according to the Indian External Affairs Ministry, and Israel is the main exporter of defence goods to New Delhi.

Modi's visit to Palestine comes amid heightened tensions in the region after US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

He is travelling to Oman for the first time.

In the UAE, Modi would hold meetings with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

The two parties will also sign a number of bilateral agreements aimed at strengthening the bonds of friendship between the Palestinian and Indian peoples and enhancing cooperation in a number of important areas.

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