Indian PM visits Ramallah, backs independent Palestine state

Indian PM visits Ramallah, backs independent Palestine state

After holding talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Modi said India hoped to see an independent Palestinian state through dialogue.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - 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 through dialogue.

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

In a Twitter post on Friday, Modi noted looking forward to "reaffirming our support for the Palestinian people and the development of Palestine".

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 to the occupied Palestinian territories, Modi met with 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.

India was among more than 120 countries to vote in favor of a resolution in December calling for the United States to drop its recent recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital.

But the scale of India’s security and commercial ties with Israel dwarfs the engagement with the Palestinians. Israel is among India’s top three arms suppliers, doing business worth millions of dollars each year.

Modi and Netanyahu are now pushing for cooperation in agriculture, energy and cybersecurity in addition to defense.



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