Modi to be first Indian PM to visit Palestine

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on February 09, 2018 Published on February 09, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Palestine via Jordan this weekend will be etched in history as India will now officially de-hyphenate its relationship with Palestine and Israel in more ways than one.

Modi’s agenda will be driven by the fact that he had promised to offer “unwavering support” to the cause of Palestine during the visit of Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas here last year, “redefining the relationship” while taking it to the next level, sources told BusinessLine.

Prior to Modi, former President Pranab Mukherjee and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had visited Palestine in October 2015 and January 2016 respectively. This was followed by the visit of President Abbas to New Delhi in May 2017.

However, Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Ramallah ever since India became one of the first countries to recognise the State of Palestine in 1988. In 1996, India opened its Representative Office to the Palestine Authority in Gaza, which later was shifted to Ramallah in 2003.

“You are aware that 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,” said Bala Bhaskar, Joint Secretary (West Asia), Ministry of External Affairs.

Prime Minister Modi will meet President Abbas on February 10 in Ramallah. This will be the fourth meeting between the two leaders .

In order to deepen the engagement, India and Palestine had undertaken the first ever historic ministerial level joint commission meeting in November 2016. Both sides agreed to deepen their engagement in several areas including health, IT, tourism, youth affairs, sports, agriculture.

However, Modi’s visit to Ramallah comes at a time when the US has taken a stance to recognise the disputed territory of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel unilaterally while India chose to vote in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution opposing the move made by Washington.

Interestingly, unlike his visit to Israel in July last year, Prime Minister Modi will visit Palestine only for a few hours. He will leave for Abu Dhabi on Saturday night. This is contrary to his three-day visit to Israel where he had several engagements.

“Prime Minister Modi needs to made it clear that India gives out a strong political message that Jerusalem is under military control and is a disputed territory. India has to reject America’s designs on the issue,” said Former Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE, Talmiz Ahmad.

Modi will not enter Ramallah from Israel. He will take a chopper from Amman, Jordan to the Palestinian city. Before meeting President Abbas, the Prime Minister will visit Yasser Arafat’s museum and will pay tribute​ to the Palestine leader.

Published on February 09, 2018

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.