Narendra Modi to become first Indian PM to visit Palestine

Narendra Modi to become first Indian PM to visit Palestine
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NEW DELHI - Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a state visit to Palestine, UAE and Oman from February 9-12. This will be the first-ever visit by an Indian prime minister to Palestine.

During the visit, the prime minister will hold discussions on matters of mutual interest with their leaders, apart from participating in other events.

PM Modi would be addressing the Sixth World Government Summit being held in Dubai at which India has been extended ‘Guest of Honour’ status. He will also meet the Indian community in UAE and Oman.

In Oman, PM Modi’s focus would be on intensifying cooperation in key sectors such as trade and defence. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the bilateral trade and investment between India and Oman remain robust and buoyant.

Bilateral trade, which saw a decline during 2014-15 and 2015-16, has resumed its upward trend with an increase of 3.6 per cent from USD 3.8 billion in 2015-16 to USD 4 billion in 2016-17, the ministry said.

PM Modi’s visit to Palestine assumes huge significance in the sense that India was one of the first countries to recognise the state of Palestine in 1988. The visit to Palestine also comes after PM Modi hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a six-day visit to India between 14-19 January as the two countries marked the completion of 25 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

After the Modi-Netanyahu talks, Vijay Gokhale, secretary (economic relations) in the MEA, had said, “What the two sides agreed, that our relationship was much larger than any single issue…that we need to look at it holistically and while we continue to talk to each other, our relationship is not determined by a single issue.” He was asked whether the long-pending issue of Palestine figured in the talks between the two prime ministers.

India , however, recently voted for an Arab sponsored resolution that rejected US President Donald Trump’s move to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital despite its close ties with Israel.

New Delhi