Narendra Modi says India hopes to see free Palestine soon, thanks Mahmoud Abbas for 'Grand Collar of the State of Palestine'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a joint press conference with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday during his historic visit to the country. Abbas welcomed Modi as a guest to the country and said that the Indian leadership has always stood for peace in Palestine.

He further said that Palestine relies on India's role and great standing on the international stage to facilitate the peace process with Israel. He also asserted the country's commitment to political action and negotiations as means of achieving the national goals of freedom and independence in accordance with the two-states relations along the lines of 1967.

Modi, in his address, thanked Abbas and Palestine for conferring him with 'The Grand Collar of the State of Palestine', which is the highest Palestinian honour for foreign dignitaries. He called it an honour for India and a symbol of Palestine's friendship with New Delhi. 

Hailing the relations between the two countries, he said that India and Palestine's ties have stood the test of time. Talking about the people of Palestine, Modi said that they have shown exemplary courage in extremely tough times and despite an unstable environment. "The way you moved forward in such a situation is praiseworthy," he said.

The prime minister also said that India is helping in the construction of an Institute of Diplomacy in Palestine. "I am happy that we are moving forward with our developmental cooperation during this visit," he added. He also said that a technology park has been started in Ramallah and he is happy to announce that the construction work is progressing quickly.

Modi also said that India will double the number of exchange students from 50 to 100 this year. 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 said that during his talk with Abbas earlier, he assured him that India is bound by a promise to take care of the interests of the Palestinian people.

"India hopes that soon, Palestine will come a free country in a peaceful manner," he added. India hopes for peace and stability in Palestine and believes a permanent solution is possible with dialogue, he said. "We know it is not easy but we need to keep trying as a lot is at stake."

The two sides signed agreements worth $50 million. The agreement includes setting up of a super speciality hospital worth $30 million in Beit Sahur and construction of a centre for empowering women worth $5 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.
Earlier in the day, Modi laid a wreath at the mausoleum of iconic Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. He was accompanied by his Palestinian counterpart Rami Hamdallah.

After paying homage to Arafat, the prime minister took a short tour accompanied by Hamdallah of the Yasser Arafat Museum located adjacent to the mausoleum.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Feb 10, 2018 17:56:30 IST

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