Modi becomes first Indian PM to visit West Bank

2018-02-10 22:37
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (R) hugs India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Nasser Nasser, AFP)

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (R) hugs India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Nasser Nasser, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Ramallah, Palestinian Territories - Narendra Modi on Saturday became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the occupied West Bank where he held talks with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas as part of a Middle East tour.

The visit, which came weeks after Modi hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was seen as an Indian effort to balance its strengthening ties with the Jewish state.

"I have once again assured President Abbas that India is bound by a promise to take care of the Palestinian people's interests," Modi said following a meeting with the Palestinian leader.

"India hopes that soon Palestine will become a free country in a peaceful manner."

Hopes for peace and stability

Modi and his entourage had flown in by helicopter from Jordan, landing near Abbas's Ramallah headquarters and laying a wreath at the mausoleum of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

New Delhi has long backed the Palestinian territories' quest for nationhood and Modi has voiced support for an independent state existing peacefully alongside Israel.

After a bilateral meeting, Abbas gave the Indian leader a medal "in recognition of his wise leadership" and "efforts to promote the historic relations between the State of Palestine and the Republic of India."

Speaking alongside Modi, Abbas said they had discussed "bringing the political process out of the deadlock due to the continued Israeli occupation of our land and the political impasse following (US President Donald) Trump's decision on Jerusalem and the refugees".

Trump in December shocked the Palestinians by breaking with decades of US policy and recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The US president is also withholding tens of millions of dollars from UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

"We count on India's role as an international force of great prestige and weight," Abbas said, noting "its rising power at the strategic and economic levels" that could "contribute to the achievement of a just peace in our region".

The Indian leader said his country "hopes for peace and stability in this region".

"We believe a permanent solution to Palestine is possible through dialogue. Only diplomacy and farsightedness can break the cycle of violence and free it from the baggage of the past," Modi said.

Standing the test of time

"India and Palestine's historic relations have stood the test of time. Palestinian interests have always got our support and remained at the top in our foreign policy."

Modi became the first Indian prime minister ever to visit Israel in July last year, with the two states signing deals on cybersecurity and energy.

India's refusal to back US moves to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital disappointed the Jewish state but was consistent with its support for the Palestinians.

Modi was later taking off for Jordan for the rest of his three-day tour, which will also take him to Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

The Gulf is a critical region for New Delhi.

India sources more than half its oil and energy supplies from the region, and around nine million Indians live and work there, sending home billions of dollars in remittances annually.

Read more on:    narendra modi  |  palestine  |  india

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.