Indian PM visits Ramallah, backs independent Palestine state

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP president Amit Shah and home minister Rajnath Singh at the BJP parliamentary party meeting during the Budget session 2018-19 of Parliament in New Delhi on Friday

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He was speaking after witnessing exchange of agreements between India and Palestine in presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.

Modi and his entourage flew in by helicopter from Jordan, landing near Abbas' Ramallah headquarters, an AFP reporter said.

"The Prime Minister expressed honest thanks for logistical support extended for smooth facilitation for his Palestine visit", Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

"India's 2016-2017 trade with Arab countries, at 121 billion USA dollars, accounts for 18.25 percent of India's total trade, while its trade with Israel, at 5 billion US dollars, accounts for less than 1 percent of total trade. Unbroken and Unwavering. That's why I am in Ramallah". That you have done so in the face of difficulties and challenges is duly admirable.

Modi's plans to lay a wreath at the tomb of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, considered a terrorist by many Israelis, is already raising eyebrows in Israel. He lists out investment projects.

Trade with the Palestinian Territories is estimated at 30 million dollars, according to the ministry. Once completed it will provide jobs. Have we given up on Palestine? We believe a permanent solution is possible with dialogue. Find us on Facebook too!

He said that during his talk with Abbas earlier, he assured him that India is bound by a promise to take care of the interests of the Palestinian people.

"We affirm the solid relationship between our counties".

"It's been a great opportunity to apprise Modi of the situation in the region".

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India's assurance to Palestine of continued support in worldwide fora will be significant as the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee last week made a decision to demand that the UN Security Council recognise the State of Palestine within the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital. It was aimed at de-hyphenating India's relations with Israel from that with Palestine. He concludes, saying: "Long live Palestinian Indian friendship".

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday that he is counting on India's support for a multi-country sponsorship of any future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

"India will continue to invest in health and education infrastructure, women empowerment and in the installation of a printing press", Modi said.

"Besides the symbolic significance of the Palestine visit, the prime minister will also extend support towards material and infrastructural build in the country as even in the past it has continuously participated in the Palestinian nation-building and capacity building".

This will be his fourth meeting with the Palestine President. That's why I am here.

Counter terrorism is one of the key areas of our bilateral engagement with Palestine, Bhaskar said. PM Modi was then accorded a ceremonial reception. He will also address the Indian community at the Opera House, PTI reported.

Three agreements in the education sector worth Dollars 5 million, one MoU for procurement of equipment and machinery for the National Printing Press and one for construction of a centre for empowering women were also signed.

The honour was conferred to PM Modi after the conclusion of a bilateral meeting between the officials of India and West Asian country.

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