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India for sovereign, independent Palestine: Modi

Ramallah, Feb 11: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said support for the Palestinian cause is a continuing thread in India’s foreign policy and hoped for an early realisation of a “sovereign, independent Palestine living in a peaceful environment”, reports said.

India’s support for Palestine is “unbroken and unwavering. That’s why I am here, in Ramallah,” The Hindu reported. Modi said at the administrative headquarters of the Palestinian Authority.

 

The first Indian Prime Minister to visit Palestine, Modi was speaking after holding bilateral talks with President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Prime Minister, who arrived at Ramallah’s Presidential compound earlier in the day, laid a wreath at the tomb of Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian leader, whom he described as “a great leader… and a very close friend of the Indian people”.

Modi was accompanied by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamadallah at the Arafat mausoleum before he joined President Abbas to receive the guard of honour and hold talks.

After bilateral talks, the two sides signed six agreements worth around $50 million, including one for setting up a $30 million super speciality hospital in Beit Sahur. Agreements were also signed to build schools, a diplomatic training institute and a woman’s empowerment and training centre.

“We are committed to taking care of the cause and well-being of Palestinian people,” Modi said.

“Friendship between India and Palestine has stood the test of time. The people of Palestine have shown remarkable courage in the face of several challenges. India will always support Palestine’s development journey,” he said.

“You have shown steely resolve to overcome [challenges] and advance despite instability and insecurity that threaten hard-fought gains,” he told the Palestinians. “We hope for peace and stability in Palestine. We believe a permanent solution is possible with dialogue.”