21 May, Monday

Want to see Palestine & Israel co-exist peacefully - India


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India reaffirmed its support to Palestine on Tuesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi telling Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he hoped to "see the realisation of a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, co-existing peacefully with Israel".
India and Palestine signed five agreements after talks between Modi and Abbas, who is on a four-day visit to India. Ahead of Abbas' visit, India had declared that it would continue to assist developmental projects in Palestine.
After his talks with Abbas, Modi said, "Both sides, through practical cooperation, will work together to build Palestine's economy and contribute to improving the lives of its people. We will continue to support the development and capacity-building efforts of Palestine."
The two sides signed agreements in agriculture, healthcare, youth affairs and sports and technology and electronics, along with a visa exemption pact for officials of both countries.
Abbas visited the C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing) centre in Noida, in view of India's offer to help build a techno-park in Ramallah.
Modi said, "Once completed, it will serve as an IT hub in Palestine offering a one-stop solution for all IT-related training and services."
The bulk of the conversation covered the situation in West Asia and the state of the peace process. Palestine has always asked for Indian intervention in its conflict with Israel.
While India has taken an interest in the peace process, New Delhi is unlikely to expend more political capital trying to solve a problem that is beyond its ken.
It is the first visit by Mahmoud Abbas during the Modi government's tenure and comes on the heels of his surprisingly successful visit to Washington DC where he was given an enthusiastic welcome by Donald Trump.
Trump is expected to visit Israel and Palestine later this month on his first tour overseas, which is expected to give fresh oxygen to a struggling process. Martin Indyk of Brookings Institution and former special envoy to the region told a gathering here on Tuesday that while Trump was expected to be very pro-Israel in his outlook, two developments have caught Israelis by surprise — one that Trump publicly asked the Israeli government to stop settlement activity because that would make a two-state deal more difficult and second his invitation to Abbas.
Both added to Trump's unpredictability index, but the new US President has given enough indication that he might want to hammer a deal.
Abbas, Indyk said, is himself under pressure as Palestine's top Arab supporters have been trying to overthrow him. As it is, the global rise of Islamic terror groups like al Qaeda and IS, as well as the Arab revolutions have robbed the Palestinian cause of "altitude".
In the past two decades, India has itself moved away from a singular exposure to Palestine by building a big strategic relationship with Israel.
Modi will be the first Indian PM to visit Israel on July 5-6.
Not losing an opportunity to push yoga, Modi asked Abbas to get Palestinians to participate in the International Yoga Day in June.

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