India inks pact with Palestine in health sector

India inks pact with Palestine in health sector

Less than a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel, his government on Wednesday approved a pact between India and Palestine for cooperation in health sector.

The government also moved a step closer to clinching another Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Palestine for cooperation in the field of Information Technology and electronics.

A meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by the prime minister, approved an India-Palestine MoU for cooperation in health and medicine. The MoU was signed during Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to New Delhi last May.

The cabinet was apprised of the MoU between India and Palestine on cooperation in the field of Information Technology and electronics. The draft of the MoU was also finalised during Palestinian president’s visit to New Delhi.

Modi’s recent visit to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem completed India’s move to relink its relations with Israel and Palestine. His visit to Israel was the first by a prime minister of India to the Jewish nation in West Asia, although the two countries had established formal diplomatic relations in 1992.

The MoU on cooperation in IT and electronics is aimed at promoting closer co-operation in the areas of e-Governance, m-Governance, e-Public Services Delivery, cyber security, software technology parks and start-ups ecosystem.

The other MoU covered cooperation capacity building of health staff, prevention and control of communicable diseases, physiotherapy and rehabilitation, drugs, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment and any other area of mutual interest.

Indian dignitaries visiting Israel in the past made it a point to visit Palestine too. President Pranab Mukherjee visited both Israel and Palestine in October 2015.

External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, too visited Palestine after touring Israel in January 2016, just as one of her predecessors, S M Krishna, had done in October 2012. Modi, however, did not visit Palestine.

New Delhi steadfastly supported the Palestinian people’s struggle for a sovereign, independent, viable and united state of Palestine within secure and recognised borders, side by side at peace, with Israel, and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

India was the first non-Arab country to recognise Palestine in 1988. India’s growing ties with Israel after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ascent to power in May 2014, however, fuelled speculation about New Delhi reviewing its position on Palestine. The Centre made it clear that while India would continue to support the cause of Palestine, it would also seek to build stronger ties with Israel.
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