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India Hopes To See Independent Palestine State Soon, Says PM: 10 Points

India is the first non-Arab nation to recognise Palestine and maintains diplomatic relationships with them. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a packed travel plan this weekend with visits to the UAE and Oman, before he returns home on Monday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reached Palestine, starting his short but hugely symbolic visit to Ramallah city, the headquarters of the Palestine National Authority. PM Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister on an official visit to Palestine, will spend around three hours on this visit that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, has described as “significant”. PM Modi had skipped Palestine when he had visited Israel in July 2017 to signal his government’s decision to treat New Delhi’s relations with the two countries as “mutually independent and exclusive”. In Ramallah that serves as the de facto capital of Palestine, PM Modi headed straight to the memorial of former President Yasser Arafat where he laid a wreath. Accompanied by President Abbas, he also visited the Yasser Arafat Museum.
Here are the top 10 updates in this big story:
  1. After their discussions, President Abbas conferred the “Grand Collar of the State of Palestine” on PM Modi in special recognition of his contribution to enhancing relations between India and Palestine.
  2. “This is a historic visit that will lead to stronger bilateral cooperation,” PM Modi tweeted shortly after landing in Palestine.
  3. PM Modi had taken a chopper from the Jordanian capital of Amman, where he had spent the night, to reach Ramallah. In 2015, then President Pranab Mukherjee had flown to Israel and travelled by road to Ramallah. Mr Mukerjee had, after an overnight stay at the Palestinian city, started his visit to Israel.
  4. It was with PM Modi’s stand-alone visit to Israel last July that New Delhi ended this practice of dignitaries who visit Israel, also traveling to Palestine.
  5. “We have de-hyphenated our relations with Palestine and Israel and now we see them both as mutually independent and exclusive and as part of this policy the prime minister is undertaking this visit,” B Bala Bhaskar, joint secretary in the foreign ministry, said.
  6. PM Modi is likely to announce the set-up of a super-specialty hospital in Palestine’s Ramallah today. “The focus of PM’s visit would be to provide infrastructure and facilities that are not available to the people of Palestine,” a foreign ministry official told NDTV.
  7. On Friday, PM Modi reached Jordan’s capital Amman where he met King Abdullah II. “Had a wonderful meeting with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan. Our discussions today will give great strength to India-Jordan bilateral relations,” PM Modi tweeted on Friday.
  8. In the UAE, PM Modi will meet 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. He is also expected to speak at the World Government Summit in Dubai, where India is the guest country.
  9. PM Modi will visit Oman for the first time as prime minister and will hold talks with the Sultan of Oman and other key leaders. He would also interact with leading businesspersons of Oman on developing stronger economic and business links with India.
  10. More than nine million Indians work and live in the Gulf region, of which about one third live in the UAE alone. In Oman, they constitute the largest expatriate community, he noted.