Narendra Modi to be first Indian premier to visit Palestine

NEW DELHI; Prime Minister Narendra Modi will undertake his first historic visit to Palestine on 10 February via Jordan, the ministry of external affairs said on Monday.PM Narendra Modi becoming the first top-level Indian leader to visit Palestine, as his government steps up its outreach to the Arab World
This will be the first-ever visit by an Indian PM to Palestine, and Prime Minister Modi’s second visit to UAE and the first to Oman respectively.

Mr Modi will not be entering Ramallah from Israel and is instead flying to Jordan first before taking a helicopter ride from Amman to the Palestinian city.
In Ramallah Modi will visit the Yasser Arafat Museum, hold official talks with the Palestinian leadership and attend a banquet lunch, according to Ministry of External Affairs here Modi’s visit to Palestine comes less than a month after Israeli PM Benjami Netanyahu’s India trip. The two leaders discussed the Palestine issue.
The Prime Minister will visit UAE and Oman from February 10 to 12. “From Palestine, the PM will reach UAE in the evening of February 10 on the invitation of UAE president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan,” the ministry of External Affairs said.

During the Visit, the PM will hold discussions on matters of mutual interest with the leaders of these nations, apart from participating in other events. MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, the
effort during this visit will be to “broad- base” India’s engagement with these countries and focus on more strategic
spheres such as defence and security, trade and investment.

PM Narendra Modi will meet Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in an overture seen as India’s effort to balance its decade’s old support for the occupied territories against its growing closeness to Israel.
“This is a stand-alone visit. We have de-hyphenated our relations with Palestine and Israel and now we see them both as mutually independent and exclusive, and, as a part of this policy, the PM is undertaking this visit,” said Mr. Bala Bhaskar.
Analysts said Mr. Modi’s visit to Ramallah comes at a crucial time, after US president Donald Trump’s controversial decisions to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and cut off aid to Palestine.

The Indian premier will depart for the UAE on Saturday, where he will address a summit in Dubai and meet business leaders before traveling to Oman for further engagements.

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