Modi joins Netanyahu to call for restart of Israeli-Palestinian peace process

Last Updated 15 January 2018, 19:01 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday joined his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu to call for early resumption of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.  

Modi and Netanyahu discussed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process at a one-to-one meeting they had in the afternoon and the formal parleys they later had leading their respective delegations.  

A joint statement issued after the Modi-Netanyahu meeting said that they had reaffirmed "their support for an early resumption of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians for arriving at a comprehensive negotiated solution on all outstanding issues, based on mutual recognition and effective security arrangements, for establishing a just and durable peace in the region".

The prime minister of Israel is on a six-day visit to India. His visit came just a few days after New Delhi voted at the United Nations General Assembly in favour of a resolution asking the United States to withdraw President Donald Trump's recent decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.  

New Delhi, itself, however, stopped seeking East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine after December 2016.
Ahead of Netanyahu's visit, Israel made it clear that while it was disappointed by India's vote at the UNGA, it would not affect efforts by the two nations to take bilateral ties to new heights.

Modi's visit to Israel in July was the first by a prime minister of India to the Jewish state   and it de-linked New Delhi's relations with Israel and Palestine.

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

External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, too, had visited Palestine after touring Israel in January 2016, just as one of her predecessors, S M Krishna, had done in October 2012.

India was the first non-Arab country to recognise Palestine way back in 1988. But New Delhi's growing ties with Israel after the BJP's ascent to power in May, 2014 fuelled speculation about India reviewing its position on Palestine.  

The Modi government made it clear that while India would continue to support the cause of Palestine, it would also seek to build stronger ties with Israel. The prime minister himself is likely to visit Palestine next month.  

(Published 15 January 2018, 18:22 IST)

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