India, Palestine sign six memorandums of understanding (MoUs), including in the areas of health and education, following a bilateral meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas….reports Asian Lite News
In keeping with India’s role as a major development aid partner for Palestine, the two sides on Saturday signed six memorandums of understanding (MoUs), including in the areas of health and education, following a bilateral meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas here.
An MoU was signed for setting up of an India-Palestine super-specialty hospital at Beit Sahour in Bethelhem governorate at a cost of $30 million.
A second MoU was signed for construction of the India-Palestine centre for empowering women called “Turathi” at a cost of $5 million.
Another MoU was signed for setting up of a new National Printing Press at Ramallah at a cost of $5 million.
Two MoUs worth $1.1 million and $1 million envisage construction of two schools at Tamoon village in Tubas governorate and Muthalth Al Shuhada village respectively.
A sixth MoU was signed for the construction of an additional floor at Jawahar Lal Nehru School for Boys at Abu Dees.
Prime Minister Modi arrived earlier in the day on a three-hour visit, the first ever by an Indian Prime Minister to Palestine.
Palestine is the first leg of Modi’s three-nation tour of West Asia and the Gulf that will also see him going to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman.
In recognition of his contribution to ties with Palestine, Modi was conferred The Grand Collar of the State of Palestine, the highest Palestinian honour for foreign dignitaries, by Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday.
“In a special recognition of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s contribution to relations between India and Palestine, President Abbas conferred the Grand Collar of the State of Palestine on him after the conclusion of their bilateral meeting,” the Prime Minister’s office tweeted.
It added that the honour is reserved for foreign dignitaries like kings, heads of state or government and persons of similar rank.
Modi on Saturday reassured his country’s support for the Palestinian cause while Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas said that Palestinians relied on India’s role as an international force to bring peace in this region.
“I have assured President Abbas that India is bound by a promise to take care of Palestinian people’s interests,” Modi said in a joint address to the media along with Abbas following a bilateral meeting here.
“India hopes that soon Palestine will come a free country in a peaceful manner,” he stated.
Modi arrived here earlier in the day in first Prime Ministerial visit from India to Palestine.
“The interests of the Palestinian people have always been at the top of our foreign policy,” the Prime Minister said.
His comments came after India, along with the rest of the world, voted in the UN General Assembly in December last year against US President Donald Trump’s unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Isreal.
Stating that India hoped for peace and stability in Palestine, he said that a a permanent solution to the Palestinian issue was possible only through dialogue.
“Only diplomacy and farsightedness can get rid of violence and baggage of the past. We know it is not easy but we need to keep trying as a lot is at stake,” Modi said.
He said that the people of Palestine have continuously shown exemplary courage in extremely tough times, in spite of the fact that there was an unstable environment.
“The way you have moved forward in such a situation is praiseworthy, we appreciate it,” the Prime Minister said.
Stating that India been cooperating with Palestine in its efforts at nation building, he said that budgetary support will continue to be provided in areas such as training, technology, infrastructure development and project assistance.
“India will continue to invest in health and education infrastructure, women empowerment and in the installation of a printing press,” Modi said.
He also announced that from this year, the number of exchange of students between the two countries would be doubled from 50 to 100.
Modi also expressed his gratitude for being conferred The Grand Collar of the State of Palestine, the highest Palestinian reserved for foreign dignitaries like kings, heads of state or government and persons of similar rank.
On his part, Abbas said that the people of Palestine relied on India’s role as an international force, its role in the Non-Aligned Movement and in other international forums, “in a manner that is conducive for desired peace in our region”.
“Here I would like to assert our commitment to political action and negotiations as means of achieving our national goals to freedom and independence in accordance with the two states’ relation along the lines of 1967,” the President said, and added that Israel and Palestine can co-exist as two states provided East Jerusalem is made the capital of Palestine.
Modi on Saturday laid a wreath at the mausoleum of Yaser Arafat, the Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and the first President of the Palestinian Authority.
The mausoleum complex consists of Arafat’s burial chamber, a prayer pavilion and landscaped gardens — all situated in a 6,550 sq. m. site.
Palestine Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah received Modi as the latter alighted from a chopper that brought him to Ramallah from Amman, Jordan. This is the first ever prime ministerial visit from India to Palestine.