Modi's Ramallah visit to focus on India's development aid to Palestine

Modi's Ramallah visit to focus on India's development aid to Palestine

NEW DELHI, dhns: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's forthcoming visit to Ramallah on February 10 will focus much on India's development assistance to Palestine - apart from reaffirming New Delhi's traditional support to the "two-state solution".

The prime minister is likely to convey to Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas that India remains in favour of an early resumption of talks between Palestinian and Israeli sides to move towards finding a comprehensive resolution. He will also reiterate New Delhi's position that the peace process should result in a "sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, co-existing peacefully with Israel".

But, according to the sources in New Delhi, the highlight of the meeting between Modi and Abbas will be New Delhi's pledge to continue and augment India's support to development and nation-building efforts of Palestine.

Modi and Abbas will inaugurate Palestine Institute of Diplomacy in Ramallah an institution, which was built with a $ 4.5 million fund provided by India.

The prime minister is likely to reassure the Palestinian president that New Delhi would continue to work with Ramallah to build Palestine's economy and contribute to improving the lives of Palestinians.

Sources told the DH that Modi would announce several new initiatives by India to support the development and capacity-building efforts of Palestine, with particular emphasis on the areas of information technology and development of skills of the youths.

Modi and Abbas will also review the progress of works on Palestine-India Techno Park in Ramallah. New Delhi has committed a fund of $12 million for the Techno Park, which, once completed, would serve as a hub, offering a one-stop solution for all information technology-related training and services in Palestine.

Modi is going to be the first Indian prime minister to visit Palestine.

India in December 2017 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 recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. New Delhi, itself, however, stopped seeking East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine after December 2016.

Modi's visit to Israel in July de-linked New Delhi's relations with Israel and Palestine. The Indian dignitaries visiting Israel in the past had always made it a point to visit Palestine too.

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

The Modi government, however, made it clear that while India would continue to support the cause of Palestine, it would also seek to build stronger ties with Israel.