Modi visits Ramallah, backs independent Palestine state

Feb 11, 2018

Narendra Modi has arrived in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on a landmark visit – the first ever by an Indian prime minister – that Palestinian leaders have hailed as “historic”.

After holding talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Modi said India hoped to see an “independent Palestinian state living in an environment of peace”.

Earlier he met Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and visited the Yasser Arafat Museum where he laid a wreath.

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that the two leaders will discuss means of enhancing “bilateral relations”, and are set to sign a memorandum of understanding.

Experts say the visit is part of balancing Indian foreign policy in the Middle East.

Prior to arriving at the occupied Palestinian territories, Modi met Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman. He is scheduled to head to the UAE and Oman on Sunday, as part of his regional tour.

According to Vijay Prashad, a US-based professor of International Studies, India’s ties to Palestine remain contested.

“There are external pressures on the government – especially from Arab states, which provide energy and jobs for India and Indians,” Prashad told Al Jazeera.

“India provides millions of dollars of project aid. Modi is in Palestine to inaugurate one such project,” Prashad noted.

“The visit shows that it will not be easy for an Indian government to ignore Palestine,” he added.



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