Modi embarks on 4-day West Asia visit

Selling pakodas as a form of employment was an idea born of simplicity of genius

Selling pakodas as a form of employment was an idea born of simplicity of genius

Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday said that they rely on India's role for peace in the region as Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Ramallah.

After holding talks with Abbas, Modi said he had assured the Palestinian leader that "India is bound by a promise to take care of Palestinian people's interests".

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.

Three agreements in the education sector worth $5 million and for procurement of equipment and machinery for the National Printing Press in Ramallah were also signed.

Modi said India and Palestine's relations have stood the test of time.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a landmark visit to the Palestinian territories - the first ever by an Indian prime minister.

India also supports a tech park and the establishment of a diplomatic training center in Ramallah.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump's Jerusalem move causing loss of mediator's credibility in the Middle East crisis has given a fillip to India's position in the global arena.

Such a framework would ostensibly replace Washington's long-standing monopoly as mediator - a role Mr Abbas rejected when president Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December. Some appreciated India's support for the Palestinians at the United Nations despite all the publicity around the personal chemistry between Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayahu.

The spokesperson said the visit to the four countries was aimed at deepening "our multifaceted ties with the Gulf and West Asian region".

It added that the honour is reserved for foreign dignitaries like kings, heads of state or government and persons of similar rank. On Sunday, Modi will meet members of the Indian community here during the course of which he will lay the foundation stone of the first Indian temple in Abu Dhabi via video linking.

In discussions with several officials in Ramallah, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, it appears that the Palestinian leadership sees in the Indian Prime Minister's visit an opportunity to seek his assistance in pushing forward the deadlocked peace process. He called it an honour for India and a symbol of Palestine's friendship with New Delhi.

Mr Modi told Mr Abbas that "support for the Palestinian cause has been one of the mainstays of our foreign policy" and that he hopes a Palestinian state will be established through peaceful means.

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